Liner Shipping: Alabama, Port Manatee, Philadelphia
THE Alliance’s new AL-4 service to North Europe will be calling the Port of Mobile beginning next month. AL4 will be the first weekly container vessel service to call Mobile for each of THE Alliance’s five ocean carriers members: Hapag-Lloyd, K-Line, Mitsui OSK, NYK and Yang Ming.
The full rotation will be Mobile, Southampton, Antwerp, Bremerhaven, Le Havre, Veracruz, Altamira, Houston, New Orleans, and APM Terminals. With the addition of THE Alliance transatlantic service, Mobile is now served by the three largest global container carrier alliances.
"We are extremely excited to welcome THE Alliance and its carriers to APM Terminals Mobile", said Brian Harold, managing director of APM Terminals Mobile. "The trade lane between North Europe and the U.S. Gulf has been a good market for us, particularly over the past few years. It’s great to see THE Alliance take notice of that, and we’re looking forward to working with them as they grow in Mobile."
APM Terminals Mobile opened in 2008. Throughput reached a record 277,307 TEUs in 2016. A $47.5 million, Phase 2 expansion announced last year will boost annual throughput capacity to 500,000 TEUs. The terminal berths have a depth of 45 feet and two STS cranes capable of spanning 18-container rows. Under Phase II, APM Terminals will add two new super-Post Panamax STS cranes with a 22 container-row reach, and expand the container yard by 20 acres by this June.
Mobile’s new lower harbor turning basin accommodates vessels of up to 1,300 feet in length. The $55 million intermodal container transfer facility opened last June expedites movement of containers between the port and inland points, with the Canadian National/Illinois Central providing direct rail service to Memphis, Indianapolis, Detroit, Decatur, and Chicago, as well as Canadian locations.
"We’re extremely pleased to have THE Alliance call our port, and we appreciate their confidence in Mobile as an alternate gateway," said James K. Lyons, chief executive officer of the Alabama State Port Authority. "The service will provide more options and fast transit times into Europe, which will greatly benefit both our current and future shippers."
Port Manatee Extends Agreement with World Direct Shipping
Port Manatee has extended by its agreement with World Direct Shipping, operator of weekly service to and from the Mexican state of Veracruz.
Under the agreement approved April 20 by the Manatee County Port Authority, World Direct Shipping will continue operating at Port Manatee at least through December 31, 2019 and potentially through 2021 if the carrier exercises the two one-year options.
World Direct Shipping has operated the service since November 2014, carrying reefer cargo to Port Manatee and returning to Puerto Coatzacoalcos with paper, recycled materials and oversized cargo. Volume to date amounts to about 300,000 tons. Last July, the carrier deployed the 430-foot-long M/V Queen B to accommodate the steadily growing trade.
"We are very pleased to have extended our agreement with Port Manatee as the port’s proximity to Mexico has been very beneficial to us," said. Carlos Diaz, director of World Direct Shipping. "Our 2 1/2-day transit time offers the fastest short-sea connection between Mexico and the U.S. Southeast, Northeast and Midwest and has led to the success of World Direct Shipping."
Port Manatee executive director Carlos Buqueras looks forward to working with World Direct Shipping "for many years to come."
World Direct Shipping’s Queen B loading containers at Port Manatee.
THE Alliance Makes First Philadelphia Call
THE Alliance made its first call to the Port of Philadelphia with the April 19 docking of the container ship YM Essence at Packer Avenue Marine Terminal (PAMT).
THE Alliance, short for Transport High-Efficiency Alliance, is one of three major shipping alliances. Its member ocean carriers are Hapag-Lloyd, K-Line, Mitsui OSK, NYK and Yang Ming.
The 4,600-TEU YM Essence operates in the group’s Northern European, AL1 (Atlantic Loop) service, which also calls the ports of New York/New Jersey, Halifax, Bremerhaven Antwerp, London Gateway and Norfolk.
"This is extremely significant," said Philadelphia Regional Port Authority CEO Jeff Theobald. "This gives Pennsylvania and regional exporters more options to get to Europe. Most of these lines have never had direct container service into the Port of Philadelphia."
Shippers now have additional options for cargoes originating to and from North Europe. The growing number of distribution centers/fulfillment centers located in the Lehigh Valley and central Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Delaware have created in a major distribution hub with easy access to the Port of Philadelphia.
In November 2016, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced a $300 million Port Development Plan, which will more than double Philadelphia’s container handling capacity.
"Every Wednesday, Philadelphia area shippers can now depend on competitive weekly service to/from North Europe", said Thomas Holt Jr., president of Astro Holdings, Inc., the company that operates PAMT under lease from the port authority. "It’s great to have a carrier like Hapag-Lloyd and the partners calling the Port of Philadelphia again from Europe. The last time Hapag-Lloyd called the Port of Philadelphia with a European service was the late 1980s."
"It’s important to note," he added, "that Hapag-Lloyd and Yang Ming are current customers of the PAMT from other trade lanes. This new string will solidify them as main stay customers in the port and bring new carriers into the community."
Welcoming M/V YM Essence as the first vessel of "THE Alliance" to call Philadelphia’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal. From left: Eric Holt, Holt Logistics; Justin Lee, Assistant Vice President, Port Representative, Yang Ming (America) Corp.; Capt. Chia-Tien Tun, Vice President, Logistics Group, Yang Ming (America) Corp.; Joseph M. Fox, Marketing Representative, Philadelphia Regional Port Authority; and Todd Brown, Holt Logistics.
Photo/Philadelphia Regional Port Authority