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Direct Vietnam-US container service launches next month   2009-05-17 - TN

The Singapore-based global shipping leader APL said Friday it will launch its first weekly direct container shipping service between Vietnam and the west coast of North America on June 4.

“This is the beginning of a new era for trade with Vietnam and marks its increased importance as a manufacturing and export center,” Eng Aik Meng, President of APL, said.

Vietnam’s exporters have had to rely on small feeder vessels to connect with larger ships to gain access to the world’s major consuming markets.

APL did a research study examining Vietnam’s transportation and logistics environment in early 2007.

The report concluded that Vietnam’s transition to a market economy and the fulfillment of its potential as a trading nation will be accelerated as it fast tracks the development of world-class transportation infrastructure and logistics systems.

The 4,250-TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) vessel, APL Denver, which is deployed on APL’s Pacific South 1 (PS1) service, is scheduled to make one of the first visits at the Saigon Port-PSA (SP-PSA) facility in the first week of June, APL said.

SP-PSA is Vietnam’s first operational deepwater container terminal serving Ho Chi Minh City.

APL said the transit time from Vietnam to the US west coast will be about 15 days.

Vietnam is one of the few countries in Asia projecting solid export growth in 2009. The majority of that trade expansion will be with North America, which is Vietnam’s largest export market, the company said.

APL is a unit of Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), a global shipping, logistics and marine terminals company.

It became the first Singapore-based transportation and logistics firm to establish its wholly owned operations in Vietnam on January 1, 2007.

NOL is also the major investor in the Vietnam International Container Terminal (VICT) in HCMC, which became the country’s first purpose-built container handling facility when it commenced operations in 1998.

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