Port Tampa Bay Welcomes New Direct Asian Container Service by COSCO Shipping

- Port Tampa Bay is pleased to welcome COSCO Shipping’s announcement that it will add Port Tampa Bay to its Gulf of Mexico Express (GME) Transpacific service, with the first vessel M/V COSCO PIRAEUS scheduled to arrive Tampa on January 28, 2019.  COSCO Shipping is one of the world’s largest container carriers with services calling at 267 ports in 85 countries and regions throughout the globe.  A member of the Ocean Alliance, COSCO Shipping is a leader in the transpacific trade.  The new GME service port rotation will be Shanghai-Ningbo-Xiamen-Yantian-Houston-Mobile-Tampa.  Import transit time to Port Tampa Bay from China will be 31 days, and export transit time from Port Tampa Bay to China will be 27 days. Connections on the new service will be provided to/from markets beyond China throughout Asia. 

“This is a historic development for Port Tampa Bay and we are honored to welcome COSCO Shipping to the Port Tampa Bay family,” said Paul Anderson, Port Tampa Bay President/CEO. “This new direct Asian service will provide importers and exporters very competitive transit times on a weekly fixed day service calling Port Tampa Bay every Monday.”

Port Tampa Bay is the closest port to Florida’s fastest growing region and its largest consumer market – the Tampa Bay/Orlando I-4 Corridor. As trucking costs have increased, Port Tampa Bay’s location is recognized as offering the lowest delivery cost solution for exporters and importers.  Home to almost half the state’s population of more than 21 million residents, and welcoming a majority of the 120 million tourists who visit Florida every year, the I-4 Corridor has the largest concentration of distribution centers in the state.  From this central location in the middle of the Florida peninsula, importers and exporters achieve significant savings in their truck delivery costs to serve the entire state, as well as reaching into markets throughout the Southeast and beyond.  For companies involved in retail distribution, e-commerce, food and beverage, and manufacturing, the demands for same-day service, tighter delivery windows and shorter lead times are driving this shift in supply chain strategy.  Ongoing pressures on trucking caused by driver shortages, hours of service, ELD mandate and rising fuel costs, continue to enhance Port Tampa Bay’s preferred location and proximity to Florida’s largest consumer market. 

Together with container terminal operator partner Ports America, Port Tampa Bay is continuing to expand and upgrade facilities, having recently added two new post-Panamax cranes to complement its existing three gantry cranes and have a phased build-out plan to quadruple capacity over the next few years as business continues to grow.  The Port is also investing in new facilities to continue to diversify its service offerings and cargo mix, which includes a new state of the art on-dock cold storage warehouse recently opened by Port Logistics Refrigerated Services.   With Florida’s largest grocery distribution network right in its backyard, Port Tampa Bay is well positioned to serve this rapidly expanding market’s growing appetite for perishable food and beverage products, as well as being located in the heart of Florida’s agricultural sector.

“Ports America is proud to partner with the Port in welcoming COSCO Shipping,” said Mark Montgomery, President & CEO of Ports America, container terminal operator at Port Tampa Bay. “We look forward to expanding this partnership as we continue to develop our facilities and services for this growing market.”

“We have been big supporters of Port Tampa Bay’s efforts to attract new services because of our significant distribution center capacity right next door in Lakeland and throughout Central Florida. The Port’s proximity makes it easy for truckers who can make multiple round trip deliveries per day,” said Ali Hosein, VP International Freight & Merchandising, Rooms to Go.

“We ship our product to all 50 states and over 100 countries across the globe. This new service will definitely enhance our ability to serve China and the rest of Asia which is an important and growing export market for Amalie Oil,” said Rick Barkett, COO, Amalie Oil.

“As a rapidly expanding Tampa based company with an extensive Asian supply chain, this new direct service is very welcome news and will greatly facilitate our continued growth and expansion.” said Ben Meng, President, BMP USA.

“This is outstanding news which will mean faster deliveries to our distribution centers and ultimately to our stores and customers, said Rick Meyer, VP Supply Chain, W.S. Badcock Furniture. “We already have a great relationship with Port Tampa Bay where they arrange for our drivers to be badged, allowing us to pick up our containers at the port using our own trucks, delivering them to our DC in Mulberry. The same driver can then make a delivery to the store.”