A new service linking Asia and Latin America is being launched by three of Asia’s leading container lines this summer, in spite of the recent fall in freight rates in this market.

Hyundai Merchant Marine, Hanjin Shipping and Yang Ming Marine Transportation Corp are due to start the West Latin Express (WLX) service on 11 July. It will be operated with 10 vessels of 5,500 TEUs, according to Lloyds List.

“Partner carriers believe that the introduction of this new service will improve transit times and provide extensive port coverage from Asia to the West Coast of Latin America including Mexico, and vice versa,” HMM said in a statement.

The port rotation will be: Shekou – Kaohsiung – Ningbo – Shanghai – Busan – Manzanillo, Mexico – Buenaventura, Colombia – Callao, Peru – Valparaiso, Chile – San Vicente, Chile – Manzanillo, Mexico – Busan – Shekou.

According to Lloyd’s List, the latest figures from the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index show that freight rates continued to fall last week on services from Asia to South America, where larger tonnage continues to be cascaded and overcapacity is rife. Prices now stand at just US$580 per TEU, a level not seen since 2009.