In anticipation of increased opportunities for inbound consumer goods and outbound industrial commodities, Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co. have joined forces to operate a new direct all-water container service between the U.S Gulf and Asia.
The new service by the 2M Alliance features the “Lone Star Express” by MSC and “TP18” by Maersk. The first sailing is scheduled to depart Asia May 2, with Houston as the first U.S. inbound port call. The Lone Star/TP18 Gulf service will have a rotation of Qingdao, Ningbo, Shanghai, Xiamen, Yantian, Busan, Cristobal, Houston, Mobile and Miami.
The estimated inbound transit time to Houston is 26 days from Yantian and 23 days from Busan. The vessels deployed will have a capacity of about 4,500 twenty-foot–equivalent units (TEUs).
“The Port of Houston Authority is pleased that the service focuses heavily on the Port of Houston,” Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria said. “The Houston region is a growth market due to increased demand for import consumer goods and the boom in plastic resin exports in the next few years."
“This new service will enhance the existing weekly Asian services operated by CMA CGM, COSCO and Hanjin calling at the Port Authority,” said Executive Director Roger Guenther. “We are very pleased that Maersk and MSC are expanding their operations here as well.”
“We will continue to expand our Bayport Container terminal and upgrade our Barbours Cut container terminal to meet the growing demands of our customers,” Guenther added. “These additional Trans-Pacific all-water services demonstrate our ability to provide a cost-effective supply chain option connecting Asia to local and key Midwest markets via the Gulf of Mexico.”
The Port of Houston Authority is the largest container port in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, handling about two-thirds of all the containers that move through the gulf. In 2015, the Port Authority handled more than two million TEUs for the first time in its history. The Port Authority also set a record for tonnage in 2015, handling 30.5 million tons of cargo at its facilities.