THE Alliance made its first call to the Port of Philadelphia’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal (PAMT) on Wednesday as part of its Northern European AL1 (Atlantic Loop) service.
THE Alliance, short for Transport High-Efficiency Alliance, is one of three major shipping alliances made up of shipping lines including Hapag-Lloyd, K-Line, Mitsui OSK, NYK and Yang Ming.
“This is extremely significant as it gives Pennsylvania and regional exporters more options to get to Europe. Most of these lines have never had direct container service into the Port of Philadelphia,” said Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) CEO Jeff Theobald.
The arrival of the M/V YM Essence, with a capacity 4,600 TEUs, is the first call by these lines under the THE Alliance vessel sharing agreement.
Shippers now have additional options for cargoes originating to and from northern Europe.
Years of growth in the number of distribution/fulfilment centres located in the Lehigh Valley and central Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Delaware have resulted in a major distribution hub springing up in the Port of Philadelphia’s backyard.
In November 2016, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced a US$300m port development plan which will more than double the container volumes moving through Philadelphia.
“This new service validates what we have known for a long time. Philadelphia is a more efficient supply chain option for major beneficial cargo owners (BCOs)”, said Jerry Sweeney, PRPA’s Chairman.
The ports of call for the AL1 will be: Philadelphia, New York, Halifax, Bremerhaven, Antwerp, London Gateway and Norfolk.
“Every Wednesday Philadelphia area shippers can now depend on competitive weekly service to/from North Europe”, said Thomas Holt Jr., President of Astro Holdings, (the lessee of PAMT).
“It’s great to have a carrier like Hapag-Lloyd and the partners calling the Port of Philadelphia again from Europe.”
The last time Hapag-Lloyd called the Port of Philadelphia with a European service was the late 1980s.
“It’s important to note that Hapag-Lloyd and Yang Ming are current customers of the PAMT from other trade lanes. This new string will solidify them as mainstay customers in the port and bring new carriers into the community,” Holt said.
Ocean carriers form alliances to reduce costs, mostly by sharing vessels. Recent industry consolidations have resulted in several new alliances and THE Alliance is one of the most important.