June 7 - Hamburg-based Rickmers-Linie has launched a new service linking North Asia with South America and the US East Coast.
Four ships, each capable of lifting 120 tonne indivisible loads and featuring stern ramps for rolling cargo, will maintain the monthly schedule.
Base ports covered by the Rickmers NCS Service are: Moji, Kobe, Yokohama and Nagoya in Japan; Guayaquil in Ecuador, Cartagena, Santa Marta and Puerto Bolivar in Colombia and Guanta in Venezuela; Port-au-Prince in Haiti; as well as Savannah, Charleston and Philadelphia on the US East Coast.
Additional ports can be called on inducement. In Asia, for example, the schedule permits calls in Northern China (Shanghai - Dalian range) and in South Korea.
Rickmers sees this new service as complementing its existing Pearl String vessels which sail eastbound and primarily link Japan, China and Korea with the US on the transpacific leg of their fortnightly round-the world schedule.
Announcing the NCS service, Gerhard Janssen, director marketing and sales, Rickmers-Linie, said: "The Pearl String ships are running full and the NCS service brings us welcome additional possibilities to serve ports on the North Coast of South America and the Caribbean."
The NCS service will utilise four ships, three of 11,500dwt and one of 13,000dwt. Being smaller than the 30,000dwt Pearl String ships, they have the added advantage of being able to call at smaller, draught-restricted ports. The four ships, Bright State, Del Sol, Fortune Epoch and Reina Rosa, are Japanese-owned and have been chartered from Eastern Car Liner (ECL), Tokyo.