Three new South American shipping services have begun calling the Port of Charleston.
The South Carolina State Ports Authority said Charleston currently ranks third in the nation in containerized trade with South America. "There is opportunity for rapid growth in these markets and Charleston is in a stronger position to capitalize on the rebound," said Bernard S. Groseclose Jr., agency president and chief executive.
In mid-February, Chilean ocean carrier CSAV (Compania Sud Americana de Vapores), the largest carrier in Latin America, began a new direct service between northern Europe, Charleston and the west coast of South America. Charleston is the service's only U.S. call. The ships have an average capacity of 1,650 TEUs and will call Charleston every 10 days. The service, called the EuroAndes service, offers direct calls at Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Tilbury, United Kingdom and Charleston, and several calls on the west coast of South America including Rio Grande, San Vicente, San Antonio, Buenaventura, Callao, Paita, Cartagena, Caucedo, Kingston, San Thomas and Puerto Cortez.
London-based P&O Nedlloyd and French carrier CMA CGM have added a joint service connecting the east coast of the United States with the east coast of South America. This service, which begins in April, will call Charleston on a weekly, fixed-day basis with ship capacity averaging 2,500 TEUs. Charleston is the first port inbound from Brazil, providing a shorter transit time to customers trading with this market. This service, called the Americas Bridge Express or Abex, will call the South American ports of Paranagua, Sao Francisco do Sul, Santos, Sepetiba and Suape.
The third South American service, offered by Maersk Sealand, began March 7. This weekly, fixed-day service will connect the U.S. to Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.
In 2004, the volume of South American cargo through Charleston ports had increased to more than 150,000 loaded TEUs, or 12 percent of Charleston's total volume. Ten percent of the nation's containerized trade with South America now moves through Charleston.