NEW VESSEL. Chelsea Logistics’ MV Trans-Asia 21 is a brand-new vessel built in Japan and designed for Philippine waters. Trans-Asia Shipping Lines Inc. is a Cebu-based company acquired by the Udenna Group, Chelsea’s parent firm, in November 2016. (Photo courtesy of Chelsea Logistics)

CEBU CITY –  Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp. on Friday disclosed its new vessel MV Trans-Asia 21 (TA 21) has completed its sea trial in Fukuoka, Japan, marking the company’s new investment amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“The shipping industry might have been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic but we are convinced that this investment will be a meaningful revenue and profit contributor to the Group,” Chelsea Group president and chief executive officer Chryss Alfonsus Damuy said in a statement to the Philippine Stock Exchange. 
Damuy said the Philippines, being an archipelagic country composed of 7,641 islands, is largely dependent on shipping to move people, goods, and services across the globe. 
“We are certain that the shipping and logistics industry will recover faster because it is essential and a necessity in global trade,” he said. 
MV Trans-Asia 21 was contracted for shipbuilding with a highly reputable Japanese shipyard several months prior to the onset of the pandemic, and is in partnership with one of the biggest private ship owners in Japan, the firm said. 
It was in November 2016 when Dennis Uy, president of the Udenna Group, Chelsea’s parent firm, signed a share purchase agreement with Cebu-based shipping company Trans-Asia Shipping Lines Inc. (TASLI) to acquire the latter. 
TA 21 measures 123 meters in length and has a gross registered tonnage (GRT) of 8,800 tons. It can carry a total of 1,085 passengers, 24 buses and 11 trucks. 
During its sea trials, MV Trans-Asia 21 easily reached its designed top speed of 20.1 knots and successfully passed all the necessary tests to ensure safe and efficient operation of the vessel. 
The ship was constructed at the Fukuoka Shipyard in Japan and internationally classified by Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK), one of the largest and most reputable ship classification agencies in the world. 
Upon its delivery in the second quarter of 2021, TA 21 will be Chelsea Group’s 12th and biggest brand-new RoPax (or a ship made to carry passengers, cargo and vessels) made in Japan and designed specifically for operation in Philippine waters. 
TA 21 is the latest and another welcome addition to Chelsea’s fleet of 76 vessels composed of 22 roll-on/roll-off passenger vessels, 10 fast craft, 11 cargo ships, 16 tankers, 16 tugboats, and a floating dock, through its subsidiaries Chelsea Shipping Corp., Starlite Ferries Inc., TASLI and The Supercat Fast Ferry Corp. 
“TA 21 will be deployed at a prime route giving the Filipino public affordable and quality service they deserve on board a brand-new and safe ship,” the company said. (PNA)