Another Latin America container service is coming to the Port of Wilmington, according to an announcement this week.
A release from the N.C. State Ports Authority said the authority has added an additional container service of SeaLand, the intra-Americas regional ocean carrier for the Maersk Group, called SeaLand Atlantico. The new service will complement the revised SeaLand SAE service already at the Wilmington port, according to the release.
“These new and improved services offer our customers greater access to an emerging market,” said Paul Cozza, N.C. Ports executive director, in the release. “Specifically, the apparel trade and the producers and exporters of perishable goods will be direct beneficiaries.”
The SeaLand Atlantico service is an alternative to ground transportation that connects the Gulf of Mexico with the U.S. East Coast. The service will provide weekly coverage between the ports of Veracruz and Altamira, Mexico.
"As the last port of call on the way to Central America, the service offers an efficient six-day transit time to customers," the release said.
The Port of Wilmington continues to see growth in containers and infrastructure, the release said, an example of which is the Port of Wilmington Cold Storage (PWCS) facility, set to open this summer. The PWCS facility is expected to play a role for customers using the new and revised SeaLand services, the release said.
PWCS will provide additional capacity for the developing refrigerated foods market in the region because of convenience, logistical support, expandable storage, reduced spoilage, expedited delivery time and allowing companies to save a substantial amount on transportation costs, according to the release.
The release said the revised SeaLand SAE service will deliver supplementary benefits for shippers because of its link to Manzanillo, Panama, where all-water trans-Pacific options are available, and Freeport, Bahamas, where there is a trans-Atlantic opportunity.
“As ship sizes and TEU volumes have increased, congestion has become a major hurdle for many large ports in the U.S. Southeast,” said chief commercial officer Greg Fennell in the release. “With congestion comes additional costs and lower profitability, driving carriers and BCOs to ports with superior efficiency and customized customer service, like the North Carolina State Ports Authority.”
In 2015, the state ports saw an 18 percent jump in containerized cargo volumes year-over-year. By container volume growth percentage, North Carolina’s ports are among the fastest growing on the East Coast, according to the ports authority.
The authority has been moving forward with a $100 million investment in infrastructure improvements, including new cranes, an enhanced berth, a wider turning basin and further expansion on the way.
By this summer, the Port of Wilmington will be prepared to handle post-Panamax vessels up to the 10,000 TEU class, according to the release.