APL launched a weekly direct container shipping service between Vietnam and the United States, which is Vietnam’s leading export partner, with about 20% of all outgoing freight heading across the Transpacific.
A gala event at the brand new Saigon Port-PSA (SP-PSA) deepwater container terminal located on the Cai Mep River in Ba Ria Vung Tau Province in southern Vietnam was attended by leading manufacturers, government officials and other senior industry figures.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, APL’s Senior Vice President for Pan American Trade, Bob Sappio, said: “At a time when trade is contracting across the world, Vietnam is among a select few countries that expects to record export growth in 2009. The PS1 service will help Vietnam grow as a vibrant manufacturing and export centre with an increasingly vital role to play in global trade.”
Goh Teik Poh, President of the South Asia region for APL, said: “It is a credit to the Vietnam Government’s vision and its commitment to change that a modern, integrated freight transportation system is fast becoming a reality. It is heartening that overseas companies such as PSA and NOL are welcomed here and are able to partner with local leaders such as Saigon Port and Vinalines to create facilities of this calibre.”
The new service will offer the industry’s fastest transit time from Vietnam to the US West Coast – taking just 15 days to reach Seattle, and 16 days to Los Angeles.?
In another first for Vietnam, APL loaded 53-foot containers on to the APL Denver including product shipped by global sportswear maker Nike, Inc.?
The 53-footers have 60% more capacity than standard 40-foot containers. This extra space enables importers and exporters to consolidate more cargo into fewer containers.
Nike will reduce transit times by an average of two to four days using the new service. The reduction in transit days, as well as consolidating more product into fewer containers, will also reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
“We are delighted that Vietnam’s shippers can now take advantage of the potential for significant cost reductions and improved transit times that our 53-foot equipment provides,” said Barry Akbar, Managing Director of APL Vietnam.?
In addition to 53-foot containers, the new service offers a first opportunity for shippers to utilise other APL innovations, including:
°?APL Guaranteed™ Direct - the industry’s first day-definite, money-back-guaranteed ocean service for full containerloads.
°?APL LinerTrain™ - dedicated APL cargo trains which are scheduled to meet APL vessels, departing from on-dock rail facilities operated by APL in Seattle and Los Angeles to major US inland markets.
The new service is stimulating interest from shippers – particularly in the footwear and apparel sectors, which are the major exports from Vietnam. Refrigerated cargo is also another key outbound commodity.
Major imports include machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer, steel products, and raw cotton.
The new offering makes APL’s Vietnam services among the industry’s most comprehensive. The carrier already makes weekly calls covering the entire country - from Ho Chi Minh in the south, Da Nang in the centre and Haiphong in the north. These services connect via feeder ships to strategic hubs and then into APL’s global network, which calls at all major locations within Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the US.
APL and its parent company, Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), have had a long association with Vietnam. APL-NOL became the first Singapore-based transportation and logistics company to establish wholly owned operations in Vietnam on 1 January 2007. NOL is also the major investor in the Vietnam International Container Terminal (VICT), which became the country’s first purpose-built container handling facility when it commenced operations in 1998.