MEDITERRANEAN Shipping Co (MSC) will start a new trans-Pacific container service for the US Gulf and East coasts next month, while adding new US and mainland China calls on an existing East Coast service to eliminate transshipment hassles and adding two Chinese ports to a Southeast Asia service into the US West Coast.
Separately, Wan Hai Lines said it will add the Port of Philadelphia to an existing service from Vietnam, mainland China, and Taiwan, according to IHS Media.
The additional services come amid a wave of demand for Asian imports that, while slower relative to 2021, is still growing. From January through May 2022, containerised imports from Asia were 8.27 million TEU, up 3.9 per cent from last year and over 30 per cent higher than the level seen in pre-pandemic 2019, according to data from PIERS.
MSC, the world's largest container line by capacity, and Wan Hai are adding capacity to the US Gulf and East coasts as importers build up distribution and warehousing closer to growing population centres and US shippers seek to diversify export loadings and routing options from Asia.
Starting in mid-July, MSC said its new Zephyr service will offer eastbound trans-Pacific voyages from Shanghai, Ningbo, and South Korea's Busan port with first US call at the Port of Houston, followed by calls at Port Everglades and Savannah. The westbound service will call Panama's Cristobal, followed by Mexico's Lazaro Cardenas port. The first departure from Shanghai on the weekly service will be the 5,000 TEU MSC Bremen on July 20.
MSC said Zephyr will provide additional capacity to importers sourcing from mainland China and South Korea, along with adding a new service to Port Everglades, which the ocean carrier said in a statement, "until now has only been offered via transshipment".
MSC also announced that its Santana service, which was introduced to the US East Coast at the end of 2021, will add a new call at mainland China's DaChan Bay as part of its eastbound rotation. On the East Coast, the Santana service will also offer additional calls at the Ports of Baltimore and Boston, along with its two existing calls at Charleston and New York-New Jersey. MSC said the calls at DaChan and Boston would similarly eliminate the need for transshipping goods.
DaChan Bay, as well as the nearby Shekou port, will also be added to the carrier's Sentosa service that was introduced last year to serve the ports of Oakland and Long Beach. The Sentosa had previously just called ports in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Meanwhile, Taiwan-based carrier Wan Hai Lines said in a statement its US East Coast service, the AA9, will add a new call at Philadelphia along with its current service to Charleston and New York-New Jersey. Wan Hai, which added its first trans-Pacific East Coast service at the end 2021, said the Philadelphia call "will provide clients with more service options".
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