Norwegian-based short-sea vehicle forwarder, United European Car Carriers, has celebrated a milestone at the Spanish port of Pasajes with the movement of its six millionth vehicle through its terminal facility there. The terminal handles more than 250,000 units a year led by exports of 85% and imports of 15%. The six millionth vehicle was an export loaded onto the M/V Autostar, one of the company’s fleet of 20 ro-ro vessels.
UECC handles new passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, as well as other high and and heavy cargo on a facility at Pasajes that covers around 21 hectares and is able to store a total of 9,000 vehicles at any one time.
The company operates regular services to and from Pasajes, connecting Bristol and Southampton in the UK, Zeebrugge in Belgium, Flushing in the Netherlands and Hamburg, Germany.
UECC’s CEO Craig Jasienski was joined at ceremony held to mark the milestone by Lucio Hernando, president of the Port Authority of Pasajes, which jointly hosted the event. Also in attendance was Felix Asensio, director of Ports and Airports for the Basque government.
Attendees from the Spanish automotive industry and related service sector included General Motors, Daimler, CAT, Gefco, Transfesa, Toquero, Metratir and Capsa.
 “Many things have changed since our predecessors commenced vehicle handling operations in the port back in 1986, not least the major addition of our new multi-storey car storage facility in 2005,” said Jasienski at the event. “On this occasion we would like to share the success of over 25 years of joint co-operation and to thank all those who have supported our endeavours during this time.”
In 2005, the Norwegian-based car operator, which owned jointly by Wallenius Lines and NYK, invested in the construction of a three-deck multi-storage garage facility to increase handling capacity. The multi-deck design allows cargo to be loaded and unloaded simultaneously from the main deck and upper decks of vessels, increasing labour efficiency and allowing fast turnaround times in the port. The terminal supports two ro-ro berths with quay lengths able to handle vessels of up to 400 metres. Warehousing and specialist car handling facilities are also provided.
Jasienski also highlighted the fact that UECC has focused major efforts in the past in improving the links between shore and sea at the port, using its best vessels and investing in infrastructure. He encouraged the port authorities to maintain support for the growth of traffic through the port with continued emphasis on improvements to the hinterland, particularly road and rail access.
UECC transports around 1.3m vehicle units annually.