COSCO Container Lines’ new MV COSCO Houston made its first United States call yesterday, appropriately at its namesake city, docking at the Port of Houston Authority’s Barbours Cut Container Terminal.
The MV COSCO Houston is the only container vessel named Houston and one of eight ships making their inaugural run on the new Gulf of Mexico Express transpacific service to Houston. Her length measures 261m (857 feet) with a breadth of 32.25m (106 feet). She is powered by a turbo-charged diesel engine and has a carrying capacity of 4,253 TEUs.
“Our region and state will greatly benefit from the increased cargo business and creation of jobs that COSCO is helping to generate with this new service,” said Port Commission Chairman Jim Edmonds as he welcomed the captain and crew.
Port Commissioners Jim Fonteno and Elyse Lanier and Executive Director Leonard Waterworth were also there to greet the new ship and take part in the maiden voyage presentation. The port officials presented COSCO with flowers and large framed pictures of some of the shipping line’s vessels.
The inaugural runs also celebrate the continuation of COSCO’s recently launched all-water service, with vessel-sharing partner Hanjin, which connects Asia and Houston via the Panama Canal.
The Asian all-water service is the fastest-growing trade segment for the Port of Houston Authority.
The rotation for the new service started with the MV COSCO Auckland, followed by the MV Hanjin Versailles, MV SC Rotterdam, MV Northern Faith and MV Buenos Aires. The MV Tian Yun He and the MV COSCO Columbo will round out the new calls.
The demand for direct services between Asia and Houston has grown significantly as a result of a strong regional economy and a fast-growing population.
The new vessel departed on its maiden voyage from Busan South Korea on June 2, calling Pusan, Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen and Yantian before crossing the Pacific Ocean to its expected arrival at the Port of Houston.
With the ability to connect Asian ports like Yantian and Houston in 24 days, the new service provides a competitive transit time between all ports in Asia and Texas for both imports and exports.
Maiden voyages have been coming into the Barbours Cut terminal virtually every week since late May, thanks to the new all-water service.
COSCO is one of the world’s largest container carriers. Houston is one of North America’s largest container ports and the largest on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Houston is the ideal gateway connecting America’s heartland and the world.
Shippers using the all-water route from Asia through the Panama Canal and into the East and Gulf coasts are able to bypass West coast ports via the Panama Canal.
Source: portofhouston, July 4, 2012; Image: gulfcoastrising