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176 Concord Street, P.O. Box 22287, Charleston, SC 29413-2287
Contact: Erin Dhand, Manager, Corporate Communications and Community Affairs
Telephone: 843-577-8121 • Fax: 843-577-8127 • e-mail: EDhand@scspa.com


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
6/24/2003

Charleston Port Signs New Asia Business, Considers Partnership With Panama Canal

Charleston, SC - Two new Asian shipping services will begin calling the Port of Charleston this summer, bringing 78 new vessel calls a year and improving the port's connections to the exploding China trade.

“This is great news for our port,” said Bernard S. Groseclose Jr., president and CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority.  “For our waterfront, it means new business,” said Groseclose.  “And for companies trading with Asia, it means more options, more competition and quicker transit times,” said Groseclose.

In response to booming Asia-U.S. trade and in the wake of labor disruption on the West Coast, ocean shipping companies have begun introducing new services direct to the U.S. East Coast.  Companies are sending more cargo through East Coast ports, instead of the typical West Coast distribution.

For example, this spring, the Ports Authority secured significant new business when it signed an agreement with a company to distribute thousands of containers of product for Wal-Mart.  A number of other distributors, both large and small, have also begun using Charleston.

Consequently, loaded container imports through the Port of Charleston are up 15% through the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, which ends this month.  Over the past two years, China has become the port's second-largest trading partner, behind only Germany.

In 2002, the Port of Charleston handled 120,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent container units) in the trade with China.

Existing customers of the port are starting the two new services.  Maersk-Sealand, the port's largest ocean carrier customer and the world's largest shipping company, has added Charleston to its port rotation for an existing Asia-to-U.S. East Coast service.

The weekly Maersk-Sealand service, known as “TP7,” means 52 new ship calls a year for the port.  It also gives Charleston excellent inbound transit times from mainland China, Korea, Hong Kong and Japan, as short as 22 days.

In addition, another group of port customers known as the Grand Alliance will begin an entirely new service between Asia and the U.S. East Coast in early July.

The new service by the Grand Alliance, which includes OOCL of Hong Kong, Japan's NYK Line and German-based Hapag-Lloyd, will initially call every 14 days.  But port executives hope it will quickly evolve into a weekly frequency.  It will mean increased access to mainland China, through the ports of Shanghai and Yantian, as well as Hong Kong.

The two new services bring the total of Asia services in Charleston to seven.  Both of the new services cross the Pacific Ocean and transit the Panama Canal.  So it's natural that the Ports Authority would consider partnering with the Panama Canal Authority.

Port officials met with a delegation from the Panama Canal earlier this summer.  Canal authorities plan to sign memoranda of understanding with six other ports to improve services and increase trade.

SIDEBAR - CHARLESTON'S ASIA SERVICES

Maersk-Sealand - TP7

Weekly service added Charleston with the call of the SEALAND EAGLE on June 14, providing excellent inbound transit times from Japan, Hong Kong, mainland China and Korea.

OOCL, NYK & Hapag-Lloyd - Grand Alliance ECX2

New fortnightly service begins with the initial call of the OOCL HARMONY on July 7 from the Chinese ports of Yantian, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

COSCO, K-Line, Yang Ming, Hanjin - AWE2

Weekly service from China with a 21-day transit time port-to-port from Hong Kong, rivals landbridge transit times and is very popular with the importers.  Charleston first East Coast port of discharge from Qingdao, Yantian & Hong Kong

Maersk-Sealand - TP3

Eliminated calls on the U.S. West Coast to provide faster direct service to the US South Atlantic. The deployment serves Japan, Mainland China, Hong Kong & Taiwan.

Evergreen - NUE

Features a twice weekly call at Charleston, one eastbound the other westbound, covering Taiwan, Korea and four ports in Japan.

APL, MOL and Hyundai Merchant Marine - New World Alliance APX & KJX

Weekly service with coverage of Chiwan, China, as well as Hong Kong, Taiwan and three ports in Japan. Also have a slot arrangement with Evergreen to serve Pusan, Korea and other Asian countries.

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