China Shipping launches Asia/Suez/Halifax/U.S. East Coast operation
China Shipping Container Lines will kick off an all-water service from Asia to Canada and the U.S. East Coast via the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean later this month, taking advantage of the growing demand for all-water Asia-to-U.S. East Coast services.
The bold move by the fast-growing Chinese carrier requires the use of nine vessels of 4,250-TEU capacities, which will operate within a weekly westbound round-the-world sailing pattern. The start of a new Suez service also confirms the ability of the ports of Halifax, New York, Norfolk and Savannah to attract additional all-water services from Asia, despite the relative shortage of ships in the charter market. Shippers have been asking carriers to explore the possibility of operating all-water East Coast services via the Suez Canal, as an alternative to the traditional all-water links via the Panama Canal.
“The trade seems to be booming from Asia to the U.S. East Coast,” said Eduard Winkelmann, general manager at China Shipping (Europe). “Plus you have all the intermodal problems' on the U.S. West Coast
The service will call at Shanghai, Ningbo, Yantian, Chiwan, Hong Kong, Port Said, Haifa, Genoa, Barcelona, Valencia, Halifax, New York, Norfolk and Savannah, before proceeding across the Pacific Ocean back to Asia. Its first westbound sailing from the Mediterranean will be in early August, while the first sailing from Hong Kong is expected to be July 25.
The transit time from Hong Kong to Halifax for the new service will be about 28 days.
“As far as Asia to the U.S. East Coast, it is still a booming market,” said Wilhelm Sander, director of the forwarder Kuehne + Nagel, commenting on the demand for a new service from Asia. “Halifax may be interesting.”
But Sander noted the westbound-only service will have to operate in the more difficult westbound transpacific trade, where the main commodity is paper.
CMA CGM said earlier this year it is also considering the introduction of an Asia/U.S. East Coast service via the Suez Canal.
Winkelmann said China Shipping’s new “Amax” service from Asia to the Mediterranean and North America will also replace the carrier’s former Med/U.S. “Amerigo Express” joint service, which it stopped at the end of last year. China Service contributed just one ship to that former service. It will now provide all nine vessels and offer direct calls at the port of Haifa, Israel, in addition to calls in the western Mediterranean.
It was not known whether China Shipping would continue to take slots on the Asia/Med/Halifax/U.S. East Coast service of Zim Integrated Shipping Services, which has a similar itinerary to the new Amax operation of the Chinese carrier.