In September, the first vessel of a new Southeast Asia/Vietnam and China container service from Maersk Line arrived at the Seagirt Marine Terminal. The Xiamen is part of a Transpacific/Panama Canal service named the TP20 that includes up to 13 vessels with carrying capacities of 4,500-plus Twenty-foot Equivalent (TEU) containers. It’s the first direct ocean service to Southeast Asia for the Port of Baltimore.
“We welcome the Xiamen, the first ship in the new Maersk TP20 service, to the Port of Baltimore,” said William P. Doyle, Executive Director of the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA). “This new ocean service is helping us prime the pump in advance of the Howard Street Tunnel project’s double-stack rail to the Midwest. In addition, it allows ocean carriers, non-vessel operating common carriers and freight forwarders to market the Baltimore region’s e-commerce centers to Southeast Asia manufacturers. This is also a result of the great public-private partnership that we have with Ports America Chesapeake — capitalizing on the substantial investments made over the past several years.”
Vessels in Maersk’s new TP20 Loop service originate in the Port of Vung Tao, Vietnam, load cargo in the ports of Ningbo-Zhoushan, China and Shanghai, China, and then sail through the Panama Canal before discharging goods in Norfolk and Baltimore — the only two U.S. ports in this service string.
“The arrival of the first ship in the new Maersk Line service is a milestone for the Port of Baltimore, and another example of our growing international reputation for stellar service and outstanding access to markets across America,” said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater. “The Port is continuing to show the power of its workforce and its infrastructure to fuel Maryland’s economy.”
The service reflects a need for more cargo gateways in the United States, as port congestion is at an all-time high. With many local distribution, sorting and fulfillment centers, Baltimore is a prime gateway for containers with goods heading to the e-commerce market and for cargo sent to the Midwest via rail. The Port of Baltimore has a proven track record of handling mid-size container ships that will be utilized by Maersk in the new Southeast Asia service.
“In partnership with the MDOT MPA, we’re excited to welcome the Xiamen to the Seagirt Marine Terminal,” said Bayard Hogans, Vice President of Ports America Chesapeake. “As the first ship call of the new Maersk TP20 Service, the arrival of the vessel marks the beginning of the Port of Baltimore’s direct ocean service to and from Southeast Asia, increasing our global reach.”