IN a move to offer US importers a West Coast option for avoiding congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, French shipping giant CMA CGM is to launch a premium service from Yantian to Oakland and Seattle in the middle of this month.
The new Seapriority Express (SEA-X) service will give Oakland a long-sought-after first US inbound port of call, propelling its ability to tap growing e-commerce imports.
In a customer advisory, the carrier said the SEA-X service will provide priority vessel space and equipment release in Yantian, with the fastest transit time available of 12 days to Oakland. Existing Pacific Southwest services call Los Angeles and/or Long Beach inbound and Oakland outbound.
The new service, which will feature vessels of 3,500 to 6,500 TEU capacity, will offer importers a "reliable alternative to Los Angeles-Long Beach" for imports destined within California and to inland hubs such as Chicago, Memphis, Dallas, and Kansas City via intermodal rail, the carrier said.
In addition to offering importers shorter delivery times to inland destinations - considering the vessel delays of four to five days being experienced in Los Angeles-Long Beach - the Oakland service will also feed e-commerce retailers serving the large and affluent San Francisco Bay area consumption base, reports IHS Media.
The Southern California gateway and its inland supply chain have been overwhelmed with imports from Asia since late June, when parts of the US economy began to reopen after the first wave of Covid-19 lockdowns.
The port rotation on the SEA-X service will be Yantian, Oakland, Seattle, Shanghai, and Yantian. Oakland and the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) of Seattle and Tacoma have also experienced increased import volumes in recent months, but not to the magnitude of Los Angeles-Long Beach.