Governor Jane Swift announced today that China Ocean Shipping Group (COSCO) will provide a direct vessel call into the Port of Boston beginning in March 2002.
"This is welcome news not only for Massachusetts businesses, but many New England businesses which import and export goods to and from the Far East," said Swift. "A direct vessel call into the Port of Boston will provide New England businesses with expanded transportation options to enter the global marketplace and reduce costs."
COSCO plans to deploy a weekly vessel to Conley Container Terminal in South Boston where cargo from the Far East may be unloaded and new cargo destined for points East may be loaded. Currently, cargo bound for New England must travel via other ports such as New York /New Jersey where it is offloaded and either trucked, barged or railed to its destination.
"This is something Massport has been pursuing for years," said Tom Kinton, Massport's Acting Executive Director and CEO. "Asia currently ranks as New England's number one trading partner with some of our best-known companies like Gillette and Reebok as well as high tech start-ups which have strong economic ties to that region."
To date, although New England imports about 57% of its cargo from the Far East and exports about 33%, only a portion of this freight from Asia is shipped through the Port of Boston. A direct call from the Far East will strengthen ties with Asia and New England by providing COSCO with a direct connection to Asias largest market-New England and will increase volumes moving through Conley Terminal.
"Governor Swift and the Maritime Division of Massport have shown a strong understanding of what makes a successful relationship," said Mr. Ma Zehua, executive Vice President of China Ocean Shipping Group. "The Governor's leadership on this issue has convinced COSCO that her administration is willing to work to make this new agreement a long-term success."
This new pendulum service will consist of 12 vessels offering weekly service from Asia. COSCO and its partners, K-Line( Japan) and Yang-Ming( Taiwan) will provide the vessels.
In recent years, Massport has invested more than $100 million in infrastructure and operational improvements to the Port of Boston. The port's annual economic benefit to the region is estimated at more than $3 billion dollars and accounts for approximately 9,000 jobs.
The Port of Boston is currently served twice a week with direct inbound and outbound ocean service to Europe by Mediterranean Shipping Company, by feeder vessel from Halifax, Nova Scotia and barge service from Columbia Coastal Transport, New York.