Maersk Line and CMA CGM confirmed that they will begin making weekly calls at the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 18 with a combined trans-Pacific service in June.
The two carriers will deploy 14 vessels, each with a capacity of 6,500 TEUs, on the vessel-sharing agreement.
“As the first inbound port, this new service will help grow our container volumes,” said Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani.
“The first in-bound call is the one you want,” Yoshitani said. “It generates the most import cargo. We’ll also be able to load exports on these ships before they’re topped off in Vancouver for the trip back to Asia.”
Maersk and CMA CGM will use the dockside intermodal yard at Terminal 18 to move containers between ships and trains.
“Terminal 18 has a mile of deep water berths, the largest West Coast container terminal north of LA, as well as on-dock rail and ample capacity and daily service at neighboring intermodal yards less than a mile away,” said Jon Hemingway, CEO of SSA Marine.
He said the Seattle Port Commission’s approval earlier this week of its customer recovery and clean-trucks programs “helped seal the new deal”.
The port is lowering the rents it charges to terminals in return for steps they take to reduce diesel emissions from trucks. This in turn enabled the terminals to cut the terminal handling charges they assess on carriers.
Frank J. Baragona, President of CMA CGM (America) said the new direct service to Seattle will enable the two carriers to provide the fastest inbound transit times from Hong Kong, Yantian, Shanghai, and Pusan.
“A Seattle call also offers greater flexibility in moving import cargo to our inland rail network, and westbound transit times for exports to Japan and the rest of Asia are also highly competitive,” Baragona said.