APL on Friday said it has extended southward to El Salvador its Pacific Coast container transportation feeder service that links California, Mexico and the northern zone of Central America.
The line will add weekly calls at Acajutla in El Salvador beginning June 10, reflecting El Salvador's growing participation in the international garment and refrigerated commodities markets, said Manny Fernandez, head of APL's Latin America market, based in Miami.
The original service, known as the Mexico-Central America Express (MCX), was launched in December. It connects at Los Angeles with several of APL's trans-Pacific services.
"Expanding this service southward means that both U.S. and Asian customers, as well as the garment and food producers in El Salvador and in the neighboring markets of Honduras and Nicaragua, can now benefit from a more competitive service," said Fernandez. "It will be faster, more secure and more reliable."
APL previously provided service to the El Salvador market by combining its ocean service to Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, with trucking service to El Salvador.
"Perishable food products and high-value garments are both time-sensitive shipments," said Victor Gonzalez, APL's director of sales for Latin America. "By eliminating the need for border clearances between Guatemala and El Salvador, and sailing directly to El Salvador, we are reducing potential customs-related delays, and also providing better cargo security by reducing the overland transits."
Transit times to Los Angeles from Acajutla, which is located near the capital city of San Salvador, will be six days, a two-day reduction as a result of the new all-water call. Transit times to Los Angeles from Honduras and Nicaragua will similarly be shortened by two days.
The extended service, which uses two modern containerships operated by APL, rotates weekly from the Port of Los Angeles to the Mexican port of Manzanillo to Acajutla, El Salvador, and then northbound to Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala. On a fortnightly basis, it also makes a northbound call at Mexico's port of Salina Cruz.