CSCL to launch transpacific service with HK's Norasia

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2003, 12:00am

The new link will offer traders working between the Middle East and the US another transport option

China's No2 container line will join forces with Hong Kong-based Norasia this week to launch a pendulum service linking markets on the west coast of North America, Asia and the Mediterranean.

China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) will deploy 11 of the new service's 13 2,600-teu (20ft equivalent unit) ships, giving traders working between the Middle East and America another transport option. CSCL will merge its recently launched Asia-Mediterranean Express service (AMX) with a new transpacific service that focuses on Seattle and Vancouver in the Pacific northwest.

The service, which was supposed to launch last Friday, will place about 130,000 teu of annualised capacity on the transpacific trades and give shippers access to the United States west coast-Middle East market by transshipping through Salalah, in Oman. CSCL is quoting transshipment times between Salalah and Vancouver of 31 days, and 32 days to Seattle, which the carrier said cuts up to five days off transshipment options via Asia.

CSCL established Salalah as its Middle East transshipment port last month when it launched the Asia-Mediterranean Express with eight ships.

The carrier at the time added Salalah to its express service between Asia and North Europe, establishing service links between northern Europe and the Middle East for the first time. A Dubai call will increase coverage to other ports in the Middle East.

Salalah is to be connected via feeder vessels to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas and an inroad into the Indian subcontinent will be established via Karachi and Nhava Sheva, in India.

Elsewhere, German-based Hamburg-Sud, which recently acquired distressed Taiwanese carrier Kien Hung, is looking at ways to continue the former Taipei-based carrier's participation in the trades between Asia, South Africa and South America.

Kien Hung was one of the partners in the sector's Super Good Hope Express service with CMA-CGM, Japan's NYK Line and Norasia's parent CSAV, which collectively controlled about 30 per cent of the market. But CSAV and CMA-CGM were said to be eager to start their own service since the demise of Kien Hung in May, leaving NYK to partner with the acquisitive Hamburg-Sud. Former Kien Hung sources said the new parent was 'seeking ways to form a new service commitment with NYK'.

CSAV and CMA-CGM were expected to launch a 10-ship service but executives at the French carrier remained cautious about what shape it would take.

'It is too early to say which way it will develop. There are several options open,' an executive said yesterday.

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