Port Tampa Bay welcomes the announcement by the CMA CGM Group, a leading worldwide shipping group, that it will begin serving Port Tampa Bay in late May 2019 on its Pacific Express 3, or PEX3 service. With a presence in 160 countries and a fleet of 506 vessels, CMA CGM serves over 420 ports across the globe and is a member of the Ocean Alliance.
The PEX3 port service rotation will be as follows: Singapore – Vung Tau – Hong Kong – Shekou – Ningbo – Shanghai – Busan – Panama Canal – Houston – Mobile – New Orleans – Tampa – Miami – Singapore.
“We are delighted with this announcement by CMA CGM,” said Paul Anderson, Port Tampa Bay President and CEO. “This is a further testament to the growth of the US Gulf market and the significance of the Tampa Bay/I-4 Corridor region, home to the state’s largest concentration of distribution centers, which has become the heartbeat of Florida’s international trade. These days, it’s critically important that you get as close to the customer as you possibly can. With this development, CMA CGM is doing exactly that.”
“The PEX3 offers an outstanding service to and from Asia, and now shippers in Central Florida will have enhanced access to it,” said Nick Fafoutis, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at CMA CGM America. “With this new call to Port Tampa Bay, the CMA CGM Group is pleased to provide an invaluable routing option between critical Asian markets and a growing population base in Central Florida and the greater Southeast region. With the recent addition of Vung Tau on PEX3, the Tampa call will also be the first ever direct connection between the booming Vietnam market and Central Florida. These changes to PEX3 exemplify the customer-centric strategy that has propelled the CMA CGM Group to be the number 1 carrier in the U.S.”
Port Tampa Bay is the closest port to Florida’s fastest growing region and its largest consumer market – the Tampa Bay/Orlando I-4 Corridor. As trucking costs have increased, Port Tampa Bay’s location is recognized as offering the lowest delivery cost solution for exporters and importers. Home to almost half the state’s population of more than 21 million residents, and welcoming a majority of the 120 million tourists who visit Florida every year, the I-4 Corridor has the largest concentration of distribution centers in the state. From this central location in the middle of the Florida peninsula, importers and exporters achieve significant savings in their truck delivery costs to serve the entire state, as well as reaching into markets throughout the Southeast and beyond. For companies involved in retail distribution, e-commerce, food and beverage, and manufacturing, the demands for same-day service, tighter delivery windows and shorter lead times are driving this shift in supply chain strategy. Ongoing pressures on trucking caused by driver shortages, hours of service, ELD mandate and rising fuel costs, continue to enhance Port Tampa Bay’s preferred location and proximity to Florida’s largest consumer market.
Port Tampa Bay’s position on the eastern Gulf coast complements the western and central Gulf ports of Houston and Mobile and the three ports, together with the Panama Canal, have been jointly promoting the advantages of the all-water Asia-Gulf route and the growing markets along the Gulf coast.
Together with container terminal operator partner Ports America, Port Tampa Bay is continuing to expand and upgrade facilities, having recently added two new post-Panamax cranes to complement its existing three gantry cranes and implementing a phased build-out plan to quadruple capacity over the next few years as business continues to grow. The Port is also investing in new facilities to continue to diversify its service offerings and cargo mix, which includes a new state of the art on-dock cold storage warehouse recently opened by Port Logistics Refrigerated Services.
“Ports America is proud to partner with the Port in welcoming CMA CGM,” said Mark Montgomery, President & CEO of Ports America, container terminal operator at Port Tampa Bay. “Together with the Port, we’re moving forward with expansion of the terminal, as well as adding cranes and equipment so we can continue to accommodate this growing market.”