Yesterday Vietnam witnessed the largest ship ever to call at her shores. The 'Mathilde Maersk' made its inaugural call as part of Maersk Line's new direct service between South Vietnam and the US West Coast on its Trans-Pacific 6 string (TP6).
'Mathilde Maersk' measures 367 metres long and can carry about 9,000 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent unit). Together with 13 sister ships, this post-Panamax class vessel will call at the SP-PSA International Port in Vung Tau, a deepwater facility located 80 km south of Ho Chi Minh City near the mouth of the Cai Mep-Thi Vai River as part of the direct call.
The direct TP6 weekly service will have a Wednesday sailing from Vung Tau, providing an optimal Monday evening cargo closing for exporters, and a Sunday arrival into Los Angeles, California, USA with a transit time of just 18 days.
"This is a fantastic day for us. We have worked intensively for more than a year to meet our customers' demand for a direct call to the US West Coast. The challenge has been to ensure safety and security when entering the Cai Mep-Thi Vai River, considering the size of the vessel and draft limitations. But through close co-operation with the Vietnamese authorities, we are thrilled to see our customers' wishes come true today," said Peter Smidt-Nielsen, General Director of Maersk Line in Vietnam at the celebration event Maersk Line hosted for more than 250 guests, including customers, government officials and media.
The TP6 service is one of seven trans-Pacific strings that Maersk Line offers in its global network. The world's biggest shipping line currently operates a fleet of 500 container vessels.
"We are delighted to be able to improve Vietnam's connectivity to the world with our big vessels. This has positive implications for improvements in both cost efficiency and reliability. For our customers around the world who do business with and in Vietnam, the TP6 will serve them even better than before.
We are confident that the service will help Vietnamese and US exporters and importers to optimise the potential of this growing market," said Jesper Praestensgaard, Chief Executive Office of Maersk Line, Asia Pacific.
Built in 2009, 'Mathilde Maersk' is an example of the commitment Maersk Line has towards the climate change agenda. The vessel is designed to be energy-efficient right from the start, with energy-efficient construction of its hull, propeller and engines. It is also equipped with a sophisticated waste heat recovery system that enables waste heat to be used for propulsion, thereby significantly reducing fuel consumption.
Maersk Line's TP6 service offers a competitive product covering the Far East and US West Coast. Ports of call eastbound will include Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia; Vung Tau, Vietnam; Yantian, China; Hong Kong, China and Los Angeles, USA.
The westbound rotation will be Los Angeles, USA; Yokohama, Japan; Nagoya, Japan; Shanghai, China; Ningbo, China; Xiamen, China; Hong Kong, China; Yantian, China, and Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia. South Vietnam imports will continue to be serviced via transhipment at Hong Kong by feeder service.
North and Central Vietnam will continue to be served by feeder via Hong Kong and/or Tanjung Pelepas.