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Port of Tacoma adds yet another new container route

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on June 21, 2012 at 10:57 am |
June 21, 2012 11:03 am

Announcements of new containership service keep rolling out at the Port of Tacoma.

The port today announced new direct service to Australia and New Zealand. The new service is another spinoff of the port’s big news this spring that the three Grand Alliance shipping lines, NYK, OOCL and Hapag-Lloyd, were moving their Asian service Puget Sound port of call from Seattle to Tacoma.

The new service will connect Tacoma and other West Coast ports with the several ports Down Under. The service is a joint venture by two German lines, Hapag-Lloyd and Hamburg Sud.

Hapag-Lloyd earlier this week announced it was also moving its service connecting the West Coast, Latin America and Mediterranean ports to Tacoma from Seattle.

The German shipping line said it wants to consolidate all of its Puget Sound service in one place.

The South Pacific service will call at several Australian and New Zealand ports and Papeete, Tahiti. On the West Coast, the shipping lines consolidated service calls on Vancouver, B.C., and Long Beach and Oakland in California in addition to Tacoma.

The first ship in the new service, the Cap Vilano, is scheduled to call on Tacoma Aug. 10. With four ships in the rotation, a ship in the South Pacific service will call on Tacoma once every two weeks.
Cap Vilano

The ships used on the new route are relatively modest-sized vessels as containerships go. The ships calling here in the Down Under service will have a capacity of roughly 2,500 container units. The world’s largest containership, now under construction for Maersk Line, will have a capacity of 18,000 container units. A typical containership calling at the port of Tacoma might have a capacity of 6,000 to 8,000 container units.

Don Esterbrook, the port’s chief commercial officer, said the new service will not only add more direct connections to the port’s repertoire, but also will add about 30,000 additional container units to the port’s volume each year.

With the new Grand Alliance trans-Pacific service, the existing Hyundai Asian service and the new Mediterranean and South Pacific services, the formerly under-utilized Washington United Terminal will see a ship loading or unloading there most days of the week, the port said.

U.S. Lines also rents space aboard the two Hapag-Lloyd and Hamburg Sud ships used in the service.

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