Business, Freight News, Sea

Port of Virginia is Only US East Coast Stop for Europe-to-Caribbean Service

[ December 10, 2020   //   ]

On December 5, The Port of Virginia® welcomed the HAMMONIA EMDEN, the first container ship in a new vessel service that gives the port a direct link to both Northern Europe, an important market for imports, and the Caribbean, an emerging market for export cargo.
Virginia is the only US East Coast stop for this weekly service, called the Caribbean Express Service, or CES; it is operated by ocean carrier Hapag-Lloyd, a long-time port customer.
The CES service vessels will call three ports in Northern Europe, come directly to Virginia and then sail to the Caribbean from here.
“This is an important development because it gives cargo owners quicker access to their cargo, both on the import and export side of the equation,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “We are seeing some carriers adjust their port rotations to take advantage of our efficiency. We are working the vessels and moving the cargo – record amounts — in record time.”
The service’s import cargo from Northern Europe will move by rail to the port’s Midwest markets and by truck throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. On the export side, the service will be moving a growing amount of frozen poultry to Kingston, Jamaica, where it will be loaded onto other vessels servicing the Caribbean.
“We have not had a service that called Kingston and the result was most poultry exports to the Caribbean moved other US East Coast ports,” Reinhart said. “Now with this direct service we are going to become very competitive in this area of business. This is an important opportunity and one we have been pursuing for some time. Hapag Lloyd is a valued customer and we appreciate its decision to make The Port of Virginia the exclusive East Coast call for this service.”
The port rotation (in order of call) for the CES is London, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Virginia, Kingston, Willemstad, Oranjestad, Santa Marta, Puerto Limon, Caucedo, and London. There will be six vessels ranging in size from 2,500 TEUs to 3,000 TEUs.
Since May, the port has added four new, weekly vessel strings that include the CES and a last-out call with ocean carrier MSC on its new INDUSA service. That service connects Virginia with Southeast India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.
“Our performance is attracting attention and providing benefits to our customers [the ocean carriers] and to the cargo owners moving their goods over The Port of Virginia,” Reinhart said. “We are maximizing our investments, fine-tuning the operation and are seeing some very positive results.”

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