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Newcomer SM Line to launch new China-USWC service in May

SOUTH Korea's SM Line plans to launch its second Asia-US west coast service in early May. The announcement comes just days after the fast expanding shipping line's request to collaborate with Hyundai Merchant Marine was turned down.

The new weekly Pacific Northwest service will connect China to Vancouver and Seattle.

"This new service will further enhance our trans-Pacific service coverage and will underline SM Line's commitment to widen our North America presence," the carrier said in a statement.

Operated by six 4,000 TEU vessels, the service will start from the Shenzhen port of Yantian in the first week of May. The port rotation will be: Yantian, Ningbo, Shanghai, Pusan, Vancouver, Seattle, Tokyo, Pusan, Gwangyang, returning to Yantian.

The fledgling shipping line has made significant inroads on the trans-Pacific trades since it began operations in March 2017, reported IHS Media.

Since the carrier's launch it has transported 187,910 TEU and captured 1.6 per cent of the 11.9 million TEU imported through US west coast ports in 2017, according to PIERS, a sister product of JOC.com within IHS Markit.

However, SM Line's growing presence on the trans-Pacific trades was not enough to secure cooperation from HMM, which said earlier this month that it had received SM Line's formal proposal for unconditional co-operation.

HMM is instead believed to be making plans to cooperate with Israel's ZIM Line on US east coast services. HMM currently sends ships of 5,000 TEU from Asia to the US east coast every week.

SM Line has grown its operations so quickly that it will soon offer 10 weekly services: six in the intra-Asia trade, two in the Asia-India trade and two in the Asia-west coast North America trade.

More services will follow as SM Line aims to expand its current 50,000 TEU operated capacity at least four-fold, with new services lined up for the "near future" that will connect Asia to the US east coast, west coast South America, Australia, the Middle East and Red Sea.
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