Union Transport is said to have begun back in 1946 and has grown to be one of the longest lasting post war UK based short sea dry-cargo operations. While better known companies like Everards, Stephenson Clarke, Lapthorn and others have disappeared, Union Transport seemed to have the secret of eternal life.
But alas the administrators were called in April. In recent years the fleet had been modernising too, with old tonnage sold and three new-builds from Chowgule, Goa, India, which seemed to be obtaining good freights over a wide area of the UK and continent.
There seems, however, to have been a structural fi nance and shareholder problem and the banks called time and most of the ships were quickly laid up. The newer ships should quickly attract interest and of these, as I write, the Union Diamond 2,967,’09 seems to have been taken over by a subsidiary of a continental based consortium and the other two may go the same way.
Especially there were worries in Whitstable, Kent where Union Pluto 1,530,’84, for several years, has been the only commercial vessel to call there, bringing stone from Granville for the Brett Aggregates depot. She too was laid up for some weeks.
Here the news however is positive, as she has been taken over by an operating company, Absolute Ltd, with a ship-owning associate, Angel Shipping, both formed by some of the most experienced people in the shipping side formerly of Union Transport. The new company has also acquired three more well known vessels that I understand Union Transport recently had on charter; The Falcon, 2,225,’91 and smaller Swift and Martin 794,’89/86. So four vessels, Union Pluto built Wewelsfleth, Germany, and this Yorkshire DD built trio, now form the core of the new UK based short sea company.
More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - August 2013 Issue -->
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