First-in Asia service announced
The Port of Virginia will be the first US East Coast stop for a service provided by the CKYH steamship alliance that will create a direct weekly link between the Commonwealth and critical manufacturing markets in Asia.
“The first-in service is critical for timely import cargo that needs to be off-loaded from the vessel and on its way to market as quickly as possible,” said Russell Held, the Virginia Port Authority’s deputy executive director of development. “There is no profitability for cargo in transit, so this is an economical advantage for our customers because a first-in vessel essentially means products get on the shelves faster.
“This is our first, first-in service from Asia. This is something we have been working on for the better part of two years and we are confident we can build on it.”
CKYH is an alliance of four steamship lines that all contribute cargo and vessels: the alliance’s members are China Ocean Shipping Co. (China), “K” Line (Japan), Yang Ming (Taiwan) and Hanjin (South Korea).
This service to The Port of Virginia is called the NATCO-4 (as it is labeled by “K” Line) and it will use eight vessels each with a capacity of 3,850 TEUs.
The port rotation schedule is Shanghai, Chiwan, Yantian, Hong Kong, Virginia and New York. The first vessel in the NATCO-4 service is scheduled for the end of April.
In addition to the NATCO-4 service, CKYH in May will add Virginia to its stops in the alliance’s weekly NATCO-5 service. Though not a first-in, the service gives the Commonwealth more coverage of ports and manufacturing centers in China.
The port rotation schedule is Pusan, Shanghai, Ningbo, Yantian, Xiamen, Savannah, Virginia and New York. The service will use eight vessels each with a capacity of 3,300 TEUs. The first vessel in the NATCO-5 service is scheduled for the beginning of May.
China Shipping Container Line will provide an even stronger trade connection between Virginia and Asia with the return of its weekly AAE-1 service. More than a year ago China Shipping began to bypass Virginia in the rotation of this service, but in mid-June it will renew its calls to Virginia. The port rotation schedule is Shanghai, Hong Kong, Yantian, Miami, Savannah, Virginia and New York. Vessels in the 2,000- to 3,000-TEU range will be used in this service.
“Collectively, we’re talking about 150-plus additional ship calls a year,” Held said. “It says a lot about this port when we can announce this kind new business in what is currently a very tough economic climate.”
All of these services will call at Norfolk International Terminals, one of three deep-water marine terminals owned and operated by the VPA.