Matson Navigation will add a second string of vessels to its China-Long Beach service, bringing new capacity to resurgent trans-Pacific trade lanes.
Matson said the new service will use five chartered 3,500-TEU container ships operating out of Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Shanghai to Long Beach. It will join an existing service from Xiamen, Ningbo and Shanghai to Long Beach.
Each service will operate weekly and provide a 10-day transit time, which Matson said is the fastest in the trans-Pacific trade. Matson said the services will be phased in between mid-August and October.
The new service will operate directly from Shanghai to Long Beach, in contrast with the current service, which stops in Hawaii and Guam.
The service comes into a trans-Pacific market that has seen import volume into the Southern California ports grow 15.4 percent in the first half of this year over last year. Average eastbound rates out of Hong Kong have doubled since the start of 2010, according to Drewry Shipping Consultants.
“Matson’s expanded service is a direct response to the exceptionally positive support we’ve received from customers utilizing out CLX service,” said Dave Hoppes, senior vice president, ocean services.
The Alexander & Baldwin subsidiary is known primarily for its West Coast services operating in U.S. domestic offshore service to Hawaii and Guam. In 2006 the carrier extended its service to China to load eastbound cargo to the United States.
Competitor Horizon Lines plans in December to begin weekly service from China to the West Coast, using 2,824-TEU vessels that it now charters to Maersk Line as an extension of Horizon’s westbound service to Hawaii and guam. With the change, Horizon will market its services in China directly to customers instead of acting as a wholesaler of eastbound vessel space to Maersk.