Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hamburg Süd Shifting Ops from Seattle to Tacoma

Germany-based shipping line Hamburg Süd is moving its Port of Seattle container operations to the Port of Tacoma at the end of July. Hamburg Süd’s Seattle ships are expected to arrive July 27 and 29; the first ones to call at Tacoma are due in early August.

The move isn’t unexpected due to the company’s ties to the shipping lines that announced a similar move in March. Hamburg Süd is part of a vessel-sharing agreement with Hapag-Lloyd. Hapag-Lloyd is a member of the “Grand Alliance” consortium of shippers, which also includes Orient Overseas Container Line, NYK Line and associated carrier ZIM Integrated Shipping.

The “Grand Alliance” announced earlier this year that its three members, as well as ZIM, would leave the Port of Seattle and begin calling at the Port of Tacoma’s Washington United Terminals at the end of June.

Washington United Terminals is a 105-acre container terminal on the Blair Waterway. The facility has four post-Panamax and two super-post-Panamax cranes, capable of handling the largest ships in the world, plus on-dock rail and a newly extended berth measuring 2,600 feet.

Hamburg Sud and Hapag-Lloyd will begin calling at the terminal in early August, something that Tacoma says will bring an estimated 32,000 container units a year through the port. The two shipping lines jointly operate the Mediterranean Pacific Service from the Mediterranean to the Pacific Northwest.

The weekly service consists of eight Hapag-Lloyd and two Hamburg Sud vessels. It originates in Livorno, Italy and serves Asia and the west coasts of Central and South America.

Imported cargo will originate from Italy, France and Spain and is expected to include wine, spirits, branded mineral waters, such agricultural products as olives and olive oil, as well as marble, flooring and tiles. Exports from the Pacific Northwest are expected to include Washington state apples and Alaskan seafood.