Charleston, SC – Charleston’s now a lot closer to India and Asia. Two groups of steamship lines, most of whom already serve the port, have chosen Charleston for two new services, bringing 78 new ship calls a year.
In a major victory, the South Carolina State Ports Authority has successfully renegotiated the contract of one of its largest customers, a shipping consortium consisting of China Ocean Shipping Company, Yang Ming and “K” Line. The group is one of the port’s top five customers, moving more than 100,000 containers through Charleston each year.
The net result for the Port is a new weekly East Asia service, while also maintaining the alliance’s services to North Europe and the Mediterranean. The new joint service of COSCO, Yang Ming and “K” Line, called the “AEX,” will travel between the U.S. East Coast and East Asia through the Panama Canal.
COSCO and Yang Ming previously served China and the Mediterranean through a single Suez Canal service. Now they offer two services, one to the Mediterranean from the East Coast, and another to East Asia, including Japan, through the Panama Canal. All three lines will participate in the trans-Panama service.
“With the larger alliances dominating our business, it’s very often an all or nothing situation,” said Bernard S. Gro”Not only do we kept two ships a week in the Europe and Med routes, but importers and exporters have another option to East Asia.”
The full port rotation is Shanghai and Yantian, China; Hong Kong; New York-New Jersey; Norfolk; Charleston; Tokyo and Kobe, Japan; and Shanghai. Charleston is the last port called outbound before the ships sail across the Pacific, minimizing transit times for exporters. The first vessel is expected at Charleston’s Columbus Street Terminal in late May. Another major customer at Columbus Street moved to the Wando Welch Terminal earlier this year, making room for the new business.
The Port was also selected for a new joint service, the India-America Express, sailing every two weeks between the North Charleston Terminal and India, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. While initially a fortnightly service, the carriers say the service will soon grow to a weekly rotation. Partners in the offering include Shipping Corp. of India, Contship and CMA-CGM.
Ports of call include Mumbai (Bombay, India), Colombia (Sri Lanka), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Port Said (Egypt) and Gioia Tauro (Italy).