Swire Shipping has stepped up its service between Townsville and Shanghai, with the addition of its newly built 2750-container vessel Lae Chief.
Launching the new fixed-day fortnightly service with her maiden voyage, the vessel arrived in Townsville today.
Port of Townsville manager trade development Maria James said the increased service – taking visit frequency from from 20 days to 14 – was a sign of confidence in the export market.
It follows the announcement in October that COSCO Shipping Lines had started a new fortnightly service directly linking Townsville with destinations in China, Northern Australia and the South Pacific.
“The improved service offered by Swire Shipping to North Asia means that local businesses can now better plan their inventory, benefit from supply chain efficiencies and enjoy greater connectivity, which will allow them to remain competitive in the long run,” said Ms James.
“It will also greatly benefit North Queensland’s agricultural industries, including refrigerated containers containing mangoes and other fresh produce. We are very excited about the improved services offered by Swire Shipping and look forward to the benefits that it will bring to the region.”
The revised service will operate from Shanghai calling at Ningbo, Nansha, Hong Kong, Lae, Port Moresby, Townsville and Shanghai.
The MV Lae Chief is fitted with three 45-tonne cranes capable of dual lifts and is capable of carrying breakbulk such as steel and forest products, as well as vehicles up to 70 tonnes.
It arrived in Townsville carrying a diverse range of imported goods such as mineral concentrates and stock feeds It will carry refined metals, marble blocks, fertiliser and grains from Townsville to Asia.
MV Lae Chief is the first out of three 2750-container newbuilds that will be deployed on Swire Shipping’s North Asia Express (NAX) service.
Its sister vessels, MV Noumea Chief and MV Suva Chief, are expected to be deployed into service in 2021.