DP World has launched what it claims is the first direct freight service between the UAE and Iraq using ro-ro ships to cater for unaccompanied trailers. These trailers can be transported by sea without the driver and truck cab travelling alongside them. Instead, the trailer is left at the quay side at the port by the driver and is then pulled on and off the ship alone.
This is the first service of its kind in the UAE and runs under the name of P&O Maritime Transport. The service takes approximately 36 hours to travel between Jebel Ali in the UAE and Umm Qasr in southern Iraq and offers a new route between the two countries for road trailers, alleviating challenges faced by customers using cross-border land transport, which can take up to 14 days.
Unaccompanied trailers are loaded on to ro-ro freight vessels. Once the trailer reaches Umm Qasr port, an Iraqi truck can drive it to its final destination anywhere in the country. The empty trailer is then returned to Umm Qasr and shipped back to Jebel Ali.
Until now, goods transported by road from the UAE to Iraq had to be transloaded, a time consuming exercise involving transferring cargo from the original truck to a locally-licensed vehicle. It is also risky, exposing the cargo to potential damage, contamination and security issues. DP World’s unaccompanied trailer service allows cargo owners and logistics companies to load a UAE-plated trailer in their local warehouse, ship it securely to Iraq and get the same trailer back, without the cargo having to change hands along the route.
This is especially useful for transporting palletised or project cargo, including large, heavy duty, or complex pieces of equipment, due to the greater payload capacity of road going trailers.
The first customer to use the route was the ADSO Group, a UAE-based logistics firm. Speaking about the maiden journey, Riaz Karmali, General Manager at ADSO, said: “The new service is ground-breaking and delivers great logistical efficiencies across our operations. We benefit from cost-savings by reducing our time spent on the road and crossing borders. Plus, the service provides a more sustainable solution to us, and by extension to our customers. We are optimistic our clients will greatly benefit from this service, and it will be a win-win solution for shippers, forwarders and receivers alike.”