Swire Shipping has launched its upgraded North Asia Express (NAX) service with the addition of its newly built 2,750 container vessel, Lae Chief. The enhanced service will increase Swire Shipping’s shipping frequency into Townsville from 20 days to 14 days.
Connecting North Asia with Papua New Guinea and Australia on a fixed-day fortnightly basis, the newly upgraded service will be supported through the deployment of three ships each with the capacity of carrying up to 2,750 containers.
Townsville Port’s Manager Trade Development, Maria James said the increased service provided by Swire Shipping was a sign of confidence in the export market.
“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.”
Swire Shipping’s first 2,750 TEU newbuild vessel, Lae Chief, made its first port call into Townsville on 2 December 2020. Carrying a diverse range of imported goods such as mineral concentrates and stock feeds, the vessel will also carry refined metals, marble blocks, fertiliser and grains from Townsville to Asia.
A plaque presentation ceremony was held to commemorate the arrival of the newly built, modern vessel on the upgraded service.
“We are delighted to be able to continue our partnership with Port of Townsville so that we can better serve our customers and the people of North Queensland. This is a proud moment for Swire Shipping not only because we have launched the fixed day fortnightly service with our first 2,750 TEU newbuild vessel, but also because our improvements will benefit local businesses in the long term,” said Swire Shipping General Manager Jeremy Sutton.
“Our purpose as a company is to enrich lives by connecting customers with communities in the Pacific. Despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to invest in modern vessels and improve schedule reliability. We look forward to bringing greater connectivity and convenience to Townsville in the future as we phase in our newbuild vessels, improve our network coverage and launch new digital products.”
The revised service will operate from Shanghai calling at Ningbo, Nansha, Hong Kong, Lae, Port Moresby, Townsville and Shanghai.
The NAX service was launched in 2015 to provide a direct link between North Asia, Townsville in Australia and Lae in Papua New Guinea