Kindia, a 21,270dwt container vessel with capacity for 1,600 TEU, was built at Hanjin Heavy Industries’ Ulsan shipyard in South Korea. She is the first vessel built in the Far East for the independent OT Africa Line Holdings (OTAL). A sister vessel of similar dimensions was also constructed at the Ulsan yard, and joined Kindia later in 1999. OTAL, a London-based West African shipping and logistics specialist, operates a fleet of container, general cargo and roro vessels between ports in Europe and West Africa. Following OTAL’s tradition of naming vessels after towns in West Africa, the company’s latest delivery takes its name from a town in Guinea.
Delivery of the vessel coincided with OTAL’s announcement of its biggest ever pre-tax profit of US$6.24 million, up 184% on the previous year’s results. Against traditionally complex trading conditions in West Africa, the group’s cash generation capacity remained strong with year-end cash balances rising to $14 million from $6.8 million the previous year.
OTAL operates multipurpose roro and container vessels that cover the west African ports of Nouakchott (Mauritania), Dakar (Senegal), Banjul (The Gambia), Conakry (Guinea), Monrovia (Liberia), Abidjan and San Pedro (Ivory Coast), Tema and Takoradi (Ghana), Lome (Togo), Cotonou (Benin), Lagos and Port Harcourt (Nigeria), Douala (Cameroon), Luanda and Lobito (Angola). The container vessels tend to go as far south as Nigeria, while the roro vessels go further south to Angola.
Kindia’s nominal container capacity of 1,600 TEU reduces to about 1,200 TEU in real terms, given the average heavy weights of 20ft box movements prevalent on the West Africa trades. Her registered owner is listed as Cassiopia Investments and she is managed by Antrak Marine out of the Isle of Man. Her overall length is 168.0m, breadth 27.2m, depth 13.8m and draught 8.75m. As West African ports do not have very sophisticated shoreside handling equipment, Kindia is fitted with her own deck cranes, enabling her to use almost any port in the region – the only restrictions being her draught.
Hanjin’s Ulsan Shipyard implemented a brand new construction process for the vessel, which it had only used once before. Heavy-lift cranes were employed to lower Kindia’s engine and pre-fabricated accommodation block onto the vessel on the same day. These components weighed 400t and 700t respectively. It took only one hour to lower the engine and accommodation block into position, and only a few more to secure them.
Main engine power is provided by a Korean-built MAN B&W 7S60MC-C diesel engine with a maximum continuous rating of 21,490bhp at 105rev/min. Her normal continuous rating is registered at 19,340bhp at 10.4rpm. Average service speed comes in at 20 knots, with a fuel consumption of around 40t/day.
OT Africa Line (OTAL) was established in 1975 as a pioneering, roll-on roll-off congestion-beating transport system to Nigeria, designed to take the strain of a massive construction boom that was created by the discovery of oil in the mid-1970s. Its head office is based in London, and it has close to 140 offices in 60 countries. The company has streamlined its operations under OTAL Holdings and now operates OT Africa Line – the shipping, UK liner agency and global intermodal operations and Antrak Marine. The latter manages the group’s ownership, ship management, vessel chartering and crewing services.
Antrak Logistics Group covers the group’s worldwide projects and West African trucking, ship agency and airfreight operations (the latter being under Antrak Freight). As part of an ongoing global expansion programme in developing countries, the company recently appointed agents in Bangladesh and Pakistan for the first time. The latest appointments give the line representation throughout the Indian Sub-Continent – and every major economy trading with West Africa. This is also part of the line’s initiative aimed at securing agencies and inter-line agreements to provide OTAL with shipping links around the world.