UWL is contracting into 2024 with Swire Shipping for the Sun Chief express service, the premium direct service between Vietnam and Seattle, Washington.

“Despite global headwinds, the market remains engaged with our expedited direct feeder solution and our commitment to the development of our Sun Chief express service is resolute,” said UWL President Duncan Wright. “Of course, customers will always care about rates, but there are additional considerations to keep in mind in a declining market. We are seeing customers place priority on reliability and speed and we are proud that our Sun Chief express service creates desirable solutions as an alternative to the normal service levels from other carriers.”

Since its launch in April of 2022, Sun Chief has consistently delivered the fastest transit time for a direct sailing – only 19 days from Ho Chi Minh, and 17 days from Haiphong, Vietnam to Seattle, Washington. The service guarantees reliability and availability for customers: there are no blank sailings, no rolled cargo, and schedules are published six months in advance.

This service now includes connecting origins and destinations Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Jakarta and Laem Chabang through Ho Chi Minh. Adding to this we have launched an IPI offering connecting Seattle to Memphis, Chicago and Louisville, with market leading door-to-door transit times. Vancouver is serviced via Swire Shipping-owned Westwood Shipping Lines.

With customer contracts signed for a second year and boasting the most reliable service available from SE Asia to the US West Coast with a 100% on-time performance, Sun Chief has demonstrated that there is a place for new, niche entrants into the carrier market.

“Our vision is to be our Customers Partner of Choice,” said Rufus Frere-Smith, Regional Head, Americas, Swire Shipping. “Being the Owner and Operator of a fleet of new, best in class, high speed, eco container ships has enabled us to develop new niches in the market. We have the ability to pivot – at short notice – to the demands and vagaries of the market. Furthermore, our recent acquisition of Westwood Shipping Lines has opened up synergies that give us access to infrastructure to service Inland Points in the USA and Canada.

Additional investments in the Pacific Northwest have been made by UWL’s warehouse company, World Distribution Services (WDS), who recently opened a 300,000 sq ft distribution facility just south of the Port of Seattle. This facility will offer customers high-speed cross-docking and 53’ intermodal services, a key pillar to seeing Seattle become the 4th major gateway to the US market.

“There are few guarantees in today’s freight market,” added Wright. “Together with Swire Shipping, UWL is committing that Sun Chief will be here and will be reliable for the long-term. We continue to prove that niche carriers not only belong but can excel in this market as premium alternatives for the long term to the benefit of our customers.”