SINGAPORE's APL and Hamburg Sud have launched new services to tap growing volume between Asia and Mexico, as imports from China last year rose 12.9 per cent to 632,844 TEU, and following in the footsteps of Maersk Line and Hamburg Sud.
The new APL route, Quetzal Express (QEX), will run weekly and connect China, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong with Mexico and west coast South America (WCSA), with a sailing time of 22 days to get from South China to Mexico. Other port calls on the route are Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, reported IHS Media.
"The QEX service will complement other APL services in delivering fresh produce from Mexico and Latin America to the importing Asian markets of China, Taiwan and Korea," said APL spokeswoman Shirley Poo. She said the eastbound route will carry Mexican fruit and perishable goods as well as imported manufactured goods from South China.
The arrival of the new service follows APL's launch of three others in February that link Asia and Mexico, each stopping at one or more Latin American ports, among them ports in Columbia, Ecuador, Chile, and Central America. The three existing routes, and the new one, all stop at the Pacific Coast port of Manzanillo.
Volume at Manzanillo increased 8.5 per cent year over year in 2017, to 2.01 million laden TEU. QEX and one of the services also call the port of Lazaro Cardenas.
The Pacific port's volume grew by 3.8 per cent in 2017 from 2016, to 773,697 laden TEU. Their growth will likely continue this year, as Mexican imports from China rose 14.2 per cent year over year in January and 35.4 per cent in February, according to Container Trade Statistics.
This month, Maersk Line added a loop to its package of three routes linking Asia with different parts of Latin America. The new route will link Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, and China to Colombia, Panama and Brazil. The other three routes link the Far East to countries including Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Chile.
Also this month, Hamburg Sud launched a new service network between Asia and WCSA, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. The service has a more frequent sailing schedule than a previous service on the same route, the carrier said.