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SM Line ups capacity on North American west coast service

Gwangyang, South Korea’s second-busiest container port, is anticipating greater export flows to the North American west coast after SM Line decided to deploy larger vessels to its Pacific Northwest Service (PNS).

Yeosu-Gwangyang Port Authority (YGPA) said that its president, Park Sung Hyun, actively promoted Gwangyang to SM Line in the first half of the year, and both sides prepared measures to improve North American import and export logistics, working with SM Line’s Canadian branch.

Accordingly, in late July, SM Line decided to deploy six 6,500 TEU ships to PNS, which calls at Gwangyang, Yantian, Shanghai, Ningbo, Busan, Prince Rupert, Vancouver, Seattle and Portland. Previously, SM Line had assigned six 4,300 TEU ships to PNS.

A spokesperson for SM Line told Container News that deploying the larger ships was the company’s internal decision.

He said, “Our initial plan for the vessel deployed to PNS, including Gwangyang terminal, was 4,300 TEU vessels unlike the currently deployed 6,500 TEU vessels. The bottom line is that Gwangyang terminal now has bigger than expected vessels, due to our changed plan.”

Through the upsized PNS service, Gwangyang expects to process 70,000 TEU of exported goods to North America per year annually. Compared with the approximately 30,000 TEU processed through the PNS service prior to upsizing, it has the effect of increasing export volumes by 135%.

A YGPA official said, "We are pleased to be able to achieve the achievement of upsizing North American services through marketing to national shipping lines. In the second half of the year, we plan to further expand marketing to domestic and international shipping alliances."

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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