Service to call region’s port first

Published 9:25 pm Monday, October 1, 2012

The Port of Virginia has become the first U.S. East Coast stop for a vessel service operated by Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC), which will bring more freight from South America through Hampton Roads.

News that elimination of a previous East Coast call has made Virginia the first-call port for the service was announced at a Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners meeting last week.

“This is significant because MSC reworked its East Coast port rotation in favor of Virginia,” authority interim executive director Rodney Oliver stated in a press release.

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“That rotation will allow us to capture import cargo, which is of great benefit to the cargo owners because they can get it on their shelves and out to the consumer faster.”

As the service stops at three Caribbean ports, the Port of Virginia will also have the chance to compete for some new business, Oliver added.

On the East Coast, the South America East Coast Service String 1 will stop first at Virginia before sailing on to New York, Baltimore and Savannah, according to the release.

After leaving the United States, the service will stop in Freeport, Bahamas, before returning to South America.

The authority is expecting the first vessel to arrive in mid-October, and the service employs vessels ranging in size from 4,500 TEUs (20-foot equivalent containers) to 5,000 TEUs.