Norfolk – The Port of Virginia in June will add a "first-in" vessel call from Asia to an expanding string of announcements that point to growing interest from global ocean carriers seeking to capitalize on the port's deep water, rail connections and modern facilities.
In June, ocean carrier MOL will begin weekly calls at Norfolk International Terminals; the sailing of the MOL Partner on June 2 will inaugurate the service.
"This is, to say the least, both exciting and important for Virginia," Jerry A. Bridges, executive director of the Virginia Port Authority said. "A first-in is of great benefit to our large import customers because they'll be getting their goods to their shelves quicker. It also shows a growing confidence in Virginia by the ocean carrier community in our ability to reach their customers, and do so expeditiously."
The port rotation of the SVS (South China/Vietnam – the U.S. South East Coast) service, as it will be called, will be: Hong Kong, Yantian, Singapore, Suez Canal transit, Algeciras, Virginia, Savannah, Jacksonville, Charleston and Cai Mep. The service will be jointly operated by MOL and Evergreen. MOL will provide nine ships and Evergreen one ship, with the capacity range of 4,500-5,600 TEU per ship.
"This service will offer great transit times from Southeast Asia and West Africa, via transshipment," Bridges said. "With that being the case, I think we are in a very good position to build some business in West Africa; we see a lot of potential there."
The MOL news joins two other similar announcements made this year by the VPA, both of which were last-out vessel calls from Virginia.
In April, Virginia gained a last-out port call as a result of the CKYH shipping alliance's decision to upgrade its all-water services that operate between Asia and the US East Coast. That news was preceded by Mediterranean Shipping Co.'s announcement in February that it was going to make Virginia the last port of call on the company's Golden Gate Service, which links the US East Coast and the Far East.
"These kinds of decisions, or changes, don't come easily to the ocean carriers," Bridges said. "So when they choose Virginia, it broadcasts a larger message about our ability to compete, to deliver a high-level of service and to execute our core job which is to move cargo – and do it quickly."