Singapore-based liner operator Swire Shipping has launched what it claims is the market’s fastest port-to-port service for voyages between Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam and Seattle in Washington with a transit time of between 16 and 18 days.
The service, with priority berthing secured at both Seattle and Vietnam, has been launched exclusively in partnership with a top 20 American-owned freight forwarder UWL. Schedules are published six months in advance, with two sailings per month and 6,000 new containers available as part of a dedicated equipment pool for shippers in Ho Chi Minh City.
“In joining forces with UWL, an innovative and integrated logistics provider to American BCOs, we are confident that our ocean express solution will be compelling to importers and exporters who need a direct port to port, fast and reliable service between Vietnam and the Pacific Northwest,” said Rufus Frere-Smith, regional head, Americas, Swire Shipping.
Swire Shipping operates 14 liner services connecting over 400 ports. The launch of this service also marks the company’s efforts to strengthen its presence on the US west coast. It recently expanded its partnership with SSA for terminal services in Seattle, having already teamed up with the latter for the Polynesia line service. It has also inked partnerships with Ho Chi Minh-based SP-ITC container terminal and a main gateway for international shipments into the city, as well as with Ben Line Agencies, a provider of maritime and logistics services in Asia and Australia.
UWL president, Duncan Wright, noted: “Customers have been asking for solutions during what has been an incredibly challenging market, and this service is part of our response. Congestion and rate spikes will come and go, but the root issues remain, and US importers are pushing for more creativity and controlled solutions to manage supply chain risk. We have seen incredibly strong demand for this service already and this tells us that faster and reliable niche services are here to stay.”
A recent report by Alphaliner showed that the joint market share of the three major alliances on the transpacific has dropped from 82.2% to 67.7% as a result of global carriers’ decisions to launch standalone services as well as the entry of many new niche carriers onto the booming tradelane.
Copenhagen-based Sea-Intelligence has also been looking at the transpacific trades recently noting the regular influx of smaller vessels over the past year. On the Asia-North America west coast route, Sea-Intelligence saw a considerable decrease from a pre-Covid baseline of 6,000 to 6,500 teu to just under 4,500 teu in 2022. The same was the case on Asia-North America’s east coast, with the figure dropping from a 2020 baseline of 7,500 to 8,000 teu to just over 6,000 teu in 2022.