Maersk Inc. North America has announced a new service linking ports in Vietnam and China with the US East Coast via the Panama Canal.
“The rotation is intended to be Vung Tau, Vietnam/Yantian, South China/Panama Canal/Savannah /Charleston/Newark, while due to congestion in Savannah, the rotation will initially and until further notice swap the U.S. calls to go Charleston/Savannah/Newark.
“The service will improve speed, reliability and coverage and integrate into US East Coast landside logistics offerings. Transit times are improved from Yantian to Savannah by 3-4 days (28-29 days) and Yantian to Charleston by 7-8 days (28-29 days) over existing services. The Vietnam call has been added to provide more capacity to the rapidly growing market that has seen gains of 52% and 25% the past two years,” Maersk stated.
The announcement is another indication of the appeal of the US East Coast, where ports have land to offer for consolidation and logistics, and port costs are lower than on the US West Coast. Narin Phol, Managing Director of Maersk North America, also mentioned the new service bringing in more equipment to help US exporters, who have been complaining loudly about container availability for months.
“Importers,” said Phol, “are looking for more US East Coast gateways in their Asia/North America supply chains while exporters are looking for more equipment – especially in the Southeast US region. The TP23 service will enable us to address these needs while integrating our Warehousing & Distribution network.”
With the Commissioner Rebecca Dye from the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) currently leading its “Fact Finding No.29, International Ocean Transportation Supply Chain Engagement” to “identify operational solutions to cargo delivery system challenges related to Coronavirus-19”, Maersk is keen to highlight the new string and other initiatives it has taken to bring additional capacity to the US market over the last six months.
The FMC investigation is continuing. In February the FMC said it would start issuing information demand orders for carriers and terminal operators to provide Commissioner Dye with information, "including policies and practices related to container returns and container availability for exporters.”