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Maritime

Refrigerated Carrier Set To Add Wilmington Port Stop This Summer

By Christina Haley, posted May 11, 2017
(Photo courtesy of N.C. Ports)
A new container service carrier known for its specialized refrigerated container operations will begin calling on the Port of Wilmington this summer, connecting the port with perishable shippers in Central America and Europe.

StreamLines’ Blue Stream services “Georgia Trader” is scheduled to load at the Port of Wilmington on June 5 and will be the first vessel on the string to call N.C. Ports, the N.C. Ports Authority announced Thursday.

“We’ve made a steadfast commitment to better serve the Carolinas. Agriculture exports are critical to our region’s economy and this service, along with other recent service additions, will continue to allow our farmers to use their natural gateway – North Carolina Ports,” N.C. Ports Executive Director Paul Cozza said in the release.

Since January 2016, the service has deployed five vessels on a weekly rotation touching 10 ports, including those in Europe, the Caribbean, Central America and the United States.

The service features ships with a high reefer container intake and links perishable shippers moving seasonal and year-round product from Central America to the United States and Europe, and from Southeastern United States to Europe.

Streamlines will also provide regional exporters with services to the U.K. and continental Europe, according to the release. Loading each Monday in Wilmington, the service will provide nine-day transit to Tilbury, England, 10-day transit to Rotterdam, Netherlands, and 11 days to Le Havre, France.

Officials with the port expect the service will attract more agricultural exports through the Port of Wilmington Cold Storage Facility.

The release stated that combination of the new service and the cold storage facility in Wilmington could give more opportunity to North Carolina farmers to grow exports to Europe, as well as support cargo movements for grocers.

“As we continue to expand our footprint, we see the trade lane between the southeastern United States and Europe as an emerging market for us,” N.C. Ports Chief Commercial Officer Greg Fennell said in a statement. “We’re revamped to accommodate the large, post-Panamax ships but we also see opportunity for niche players like StreamLines to sail in as we gain market share.”

This is the fourth major container service announcement at the Port of Wilmington in the past three months.

Officials said EC2 container service from THE Alliance carriers – NYK Group, “K” Line, MOL, Yang Ming and Hapag-Lloyd – would start calling the Port of Wilmington this month. The ports also announced a new trans-Atlantic service through Mediterranean Shipping Company and Maersk Line between Europe and the East Coast in late February. And in March, officials announced ZIM Integrated Shipping Ltd. would add the port to its Z7S all-water Asia-U.S. East Coast service rotation.

The port is also preparing for additional service growth by ordering two New Panamax ship-to-shore cranes with an option to purchase two more from designer Shanghai Zhenjua Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. (ZPMC).

N.C. Ports is expected to invest $150 million in infrastructure over the next few years with the purchase of the new cranes, the turning basin expansion project, expansion of the container yard and other berth improvements.

Officials credited the improvements to recent service additions at the Port of Wilmington.
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