Ocean shipping: CMA CGM, CSAV expand service at Port of New Orleans
Container ship is unloaded at the Napoleon Avenue terminal at the Port of New Orleans.
October 10, 2011 - LM Editorial
Ocean cargo activity at the Port of New Orleans expanded earlier this month, with the announcements that CMA CGM and CSAV (Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores) have added New Orleans to the Gulf Bridge Express service, which links the Gulf Coast to the Caribbean and ports in Central and South America.
CMA CGM officials said that this service expansion enables the carrier to augment its U.S. Gulf and Caribbean coverage and expand its service scope for shippers, adding that this direct call to New Orleans provides new opportunities for CMA GGM imports and exports via its Kingston, Jamaica hub.
Since October 1, CMA GGM has been using the Port of New Orleans’ Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal, and its weekly Gulf Bridge Express service is comprised of New Orleans; Altamira and Vera Cruz, Mexico; Kingston, Jamaica; Cartagena, Colombia; and Puerto Rico and LaGuaria, Venezuela.
“This new service strengthens New Orleans’ connections to Central and South American markets,” said Gary LaGrange, President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans. “It will also allow shippers access to CMA CGM’s extensive worldwide services. We are excited to market new opportunities to our customers and are grateful to our valued partners at CMA CGM. This is truly an exciting time for the Port of New Orleans.”
CMA CGM previously had a vessel sharing agreement and contributed ships to a service to North Europe that was controlled by another shipping line in the Port of New Orleans, said Port of New Orleans spokesman Chris Bonura. He said that arrangement did not work out for CMA CGM, and when they dropped the vessel sharing agreement roughly 18 months ago they no longer had a presence in the port.
Bonura told LM that CSAV is also making significant contributions to this service, noting they are already in the port with a VSA (vessel sharing agreement) with Hapag-Lloyd, with this decision constituting an expansion of its service from New Orleans. Since that time, he said the Port of New Orleans had been consistently marketing to CMA CGM, and he said that this service is in a different trade lane than the service that they had in New Orleans under the VSA. This one is basically a loop around the Gulf with a stop in CMA CGM’s hub in Kingston, which allows trans-shipment to their network worldwide.
“We are particularly excited about their connection with Asia,” said Bonura. “Only one other carrier is currently calling New Orleans trans-ships containers to Asia on a regular basis. Having another carrier for that important trade lane is one of the advantages for shippers. Another advantage is simply the availability of a new container carrier in New Orleans. Some shippers have corporate supply chain contracts with a specific line. For factories/subsidiaries in the Central Gulf region that have a corporate arrangement with CMA CGM, this means that they no longer have to dray to a port that is further away than New Orleans to access CMA CGM’s network.
And from the perspective of the Port of New Orleans, Bonura said the port is very pleased to now have the world’s first (Maersk), second (MSC) and third (CMA CGM), container carriers—among others—offering regular service through the port. The three of those carriers represent the majority of the world container ship capacity. The port also has Hapag Lloyd, Seaboard Marine and CSAV all making regular calls to the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal.
“We consider the commitment of all of these lines to New Orleans to be a ringing endorsement of the investments that we have made to construct and expand a modern container terminal on the Mississippi River,” he said.
In 2010, the Port of New Orleans set new records for container volumes, moving 427,000 TEUs over the year. And through the first six months of 2011, that tally was up 15 percent year-over-year.
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