Need for speed drives ships toward Pacific ports

The battle for Asian containerized exports rages on between West and East Coast ports. The East had been steadily gaining ground, but COVID-19 is changing the balance in favor of the West, at least in the short term.

Taking share from air

The most immediate effect of the coronavirus, reported by FreightWaves in late March, was a shift from air cargo to premium ocean service.

Advantage West Coast ports. Former air-cargo shippers with time pressures don’t take the long route to the East Coast.

Nerijus Poskus, head of ocean at Flexport, presciently predicted the rise of premium services that offer guaranteed loading, faster ocean transits and priority discharge.

Matson (NYSE: MATX) and CMA CGM subsidiary APL offered premium services. Then Matson added extra sailings, and ZIM unveiled a new premium service — 12 days from China to California. The first ZIM ship arrives in Los Angeles on Saturday.

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Source: American Shipper