North Carolina Ports says that it has added a new container liner service from StreamLines, a division of reefer specialist Seatrade. The carrier will begin calls at the port in June with the arrival of the Georgia Trader.
“We’ve made a steadfast commitment to better serve the Carolinas,” said North Carolia Ports executive director Paul J. Cozza. “Agriculture exports are critical to our region’s economy and this service, along with other recent service additions, will continue to allow our farmers to use their natural gateway – North Carolina Ports.”
Since January of 2016, StreamLines’ Blue Stream service has deployed five vessels on a weekly rotation touching 10 ports, including ports in Europe, the Caribbean, Central America and the United States. The service features ships with high reefer container intake for perishable shippers moving product from Central America to the United States and Europe and from the southeastern United States to Europe. For exports from Wilmington, the service will provide a 9-day transit to Tilbury, 10-day transit to Rotterdam and 11-day transit to Le Havre.
“The addition of the Port of Wilmington to the rotation allows StreamLines the opportunity to service North Carolina’s important and ever growing sweet potato export market,” said StreamLines General Manager, Pablo Gonzalez. North Carolina Ports says that the demand for sweet potatoes in Europe is particularly high, and it expects that the new container service will give the state’s farmers the opportunity to grow their export business to Europe.
The StreamLines addition is the fourth container service announcement at the Port of Wilmington in the last three months. To prepare for this growth, North Carolina Ports has ordered two New Panamax ship-to-shore cranes with an option to purchase two more from Shanghai Zhenjua Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. (ZPMC). Between the new cranes, turning basin expansion project, various berth improvements, and the expansion of the container yard, North Carolina Ports will pump over $150 million into its infrastructure over the next few years. These investments have helped to attract the recent service additions.
“We see the trade lane between the southeastern United States and Europe as an emerging market for us,” said North Carolina Ports Chief Commercial Officer Greg Fennell. “We’re revamped to accommodate the large, post-Panamax ships but we also see opportunity for niche players like StreamLines to sail in as we gain market share.”