The first-ever container vessel on the first-ever China-Scotland direct sea shipping channel has embarked on a journey back to China. It is carrying Scottish items back to the Chinese market, underscoring the earlier success of the new shipping channel in boosting trade between Scotland and China irrespective of global headwinds.
The route connects Ningbo-Zhoushan Port in Zhejiang Province of East China and Dongguan Port in Guangdong Province of South China — two significant export hubs — with the UK’s Greenock and Liverpool.
The service is expected to reduce the shipping time by one-third of that of more conventional lines, Peel Ports Group, which operates Greenock Ocean Terminal, reported to the Global Times on Monday.
The new channel aims to reduce the journey time to nearly 33 days by eliminating unscheduled port congestions and delays in Rotterdam. The track will be operated by six vessels of approximately 1,600 containers each month.
Per the details offered by Peel Ports, the vessel arrived at Greenock port on Saturday and docked for almost 12 hours. It finished loading and unloading goods before they returned to the Ningbo-Zhoushan Port.
Items carried by ship to China included beer, paper, candy, gin, oil, gas, shortbread, water, machinery, and over one million whisky bottles, Peel Ports said.
Chinese products unloaded from the first vessel included packaging materials, textiles, furniture, fitness equipment, beauty supplies, Christmas decorations, bathroom appliances, toys, and footwear.
Jim McSporran, Clydeport Peel Ports’ director, mentioned that it’s great to welcome the vital service to the Greenock Ocean Terminal.
McSporran mentioned that they believe that the collaboration will be a positive development for customers and businesses and boost the wider supply chain. We look forward to working with our partners on the service in the coming months.
It was known that China Xpress (Ningbo-Greenock channel) was a service much needed by several sectors, yet the level of immediate interest is amazing. The direct trading link to China cuts through the immensely frustrating transhipment delays. This acts as a massive boost for Scotland-based businesses and can help consumers in these trying times, commented David Milne, the MD of KC Group Shipping, one of the new shipping route operators.
Meanwhile, several Chinese freight bookers have been closely monitoring the new shipping channel amid massive European port congestions.
The new route will be thoroughly inspected. We may try if can keep the present journey time and frequency. So far, there are no bookings for the route as shipments are covered between Germany and China, a Yiwu-based logistics agent reported to the Global Times.
The agent observed that Germany’s maritime ports were suffering from congestion, which increased the sea shipping costs and extended the time to almost 40 to 50 days.
The introduction of the new route reflects that it’s in line with the fundamental interests of firms and that it’s not possible for some Britain-based politicians to intervene in the operations of the economic market, or decouple from China on trade, the deputy chairman with the Expert Committee of the China Association of International Trade, Li Yong, informed the Global Times on Monday.
Li mentioned that the UK sought a trading position in Europe after Brexit. Opening the new direct logistics route will help British ports boost their importance. It is also an ideal solution that firms came up with during massive congestion at the major European ports.
Milne also called for the support of Scottish exporters and importers to safeguard the long-term future of the new service, as it has been a massive success for KC Group Shipping, but this is just one of the first of several journeys.
References: Global Times, BBC