Horizon Lines targets KC hub with transpacific imports

The company launched the Five-Star Express (FSX) trans-Pacific ocean service between China and the United States in December, and selected Kansas City as a key hub for its express ocean-rail intermodal package

By Patrick Burnson · January 25, 2011

Horizon Lines announced it has instituted a 15-day transit schedule for containerized cargo shipped from Shanghai to Kansas City with its new International service.

The company launched the Five-Star Express (FSX) trans-Pacific ocean service between China and the United States in December, and selected Kansas City as a key hub for its express ocean-rail intermodal package.

Jon Monroe, president of Shanghai-based Monroe Consulting, told LM that this will be a valuable service now that inbound volumes are ramping up.

“Furthermore,” he said, “KC is becoming more of a logistical hub than Chicago.”

As reported here late last year, Horizon commenced the FSX service with a sailing from Ningbo, China, on December 14 and Shanghai on December 15. The cargo arrived in Kansas City on December 30, and was available for pick-up at 4:32 a.m. that day.

Brian Taylor, senior vice president, chief commercial officer, for Horizon Lines, said in a statement that the carrier’s goal is to provide the weekly deliveries by using scheduled intermodal rail service from Los Angeles.

He added that the 15-day Shanghai-to-Kansas City schedule is proving to be “on-target and completely effective.”

Chris J. F. Gutierrez, president of Kansas City SmartPort, Inc., said the service offers his region a competitive advantage.

“This will allow our companies to meet delivery times more efficiently,” he added.  A non-profit economic development organization, Kansas City SmartPort promotes and enhances the Kansas City region’s status as a leading North American logistics hub.

The announcement comes on the heels of good news from the Port of Los Angeles. Imports increased 12.8 percent in 2010, or 3,973,933 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) compared to 2009 with 3,524,386 TEUs.

The Port of Shanghai, meanwhile, has supplanted Singapore as the world’s largest ocean container gateway this year.

“Other carriers have reduced inland service locations and slowed service speeds but our customers are telling us they want fast and reliable service alternatives, not only port-to-port, but inland to final destinations as well,” said Taylor said.

He said that retailers are still reluctant to carry to inventory, and that the Five-Star Express service provides some assurance of just-in-time delivery.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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