Maersk Line plans to add a direct, all water call from South Vietnam to the U.S. West Coast to its Trans-Pacific 6 service.
By starting its first direct service from Vietnam to the U.S. West Coast, the Danish carrier joins what looks like a gold rush of carriers that have been setting up direct services to the United States since last May when the harbor on the Cai Mep River was dredged deep enough to handle deep-sea vessels.
With its new direct TP6 call, Maersk Line becomes the first carrier to introduce service on post-Panamax-sized ships to Vietnam. The vessels can carry up to 9,000 20-foot equivalent units.
Maersk Line said it will kick off the new calls with the arrival of the Mathilde Maersk on May 12 at the SP-PSA International Terminal in Vung Tau, a deepwater facility that accommodates larger vessels located about 50 miles south of Ho Chi Minh City near the mouth of the Cai Mep-Thi Vai River.
The establishment of direct services from Vietnam has been accelerating in the last year because producers of goods for export to the United States have been moving production from China to Vietnam to take advantage of its low-cost labor force. Vietnam’s exports include garments, footwear, ceramics, furniture, toys, coffee, tea, seafood and consumer goods.
Maersk Line’s announcement Friday that it will start a direct service follows by a day the announcement by Grand Alliance carriers Hapag-Lloyd, NYK and OOCL that they will add a direct call at Vietnam’s Cai Mep deepwater port to their South China Sea Japan Express to the U.S. West Coast also starting in May.
Maersk Line said its new weekly direct service from Vietnam on TP6 will arrive on Sundays at the APM Terminals facility in Los Angeles with a transit time of 18 days. Cargo will become available to importers on Tuesday. The westbound port rotations will remain unchanged; exports will depart Los Angeles on Thursdays.
Up to now, Maersk Line has served the Vietnam-U.S. trade with a weekly feeder service it established last September to Hong Kong, where cargo connects with the TP6 service, which it said offers the fastest trans-Pacific transit time from Vietnam to the United States.
Maersk Line said the TP6 service, which will slow steam beginning with the same sailing, will continue to offer a competitive product covering the Far East and U.S. West Coast.
With a deployment of 14 vessels, the ports of call on the eastbound rotation of TP6 include Tanjung Pelepas, Vung Tau, Yantian, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles.
The westbound rotation will be Los Angeles, Yokohama, Nagoya, Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen, Hong Kong, Yantian, and Tanjung Pelepas. Service for South Vietnam will continue on the westbound rotation via transshipment at Hong Kong to its feeder service.
The carrier said Vietnam service to and from the U.S. East Coast will remain unchanged on the TP3 and TP7 services.
Contact Peter T. Leach at email@example.com.