Maersk Makes First Relay Transshipment as China Opens Coastal Routes to Foreign Carriers

The vessel MERETE MAERSK made the first transshipment of box containers from the port of Shanghai’s Yangshan terminal to Tianjin. China’s state council has recently allowed foreign carriers to deliver cargo shipments between two Chinese ports on a trial basis till 2024. The change was made to promote the international shipping center in Shanghai and is also expected to improve the supply chain bottlenecks in Chinese supply chains.

Historically the transshipment of cargo from one Chinese port to another has been governed by the state’s cabotage rules, and foreign carriers were precluded from transporting cargo through these routes. Even the international cargo in origin could not be relayed from one Chinese port to another. In the first instance of such relay transport, after the new rules were introduced, MERETE MAERSK picked up 27 containers from Shanghai’s Yangshan terminal to deliver to Tianjin. These containers were recently delivered to Shanghai from Vancouver, Canada.

Soren Soku, CEO at AP Moller Maersk, stated that they were proud to be the first company to make the transshipment successfully. He also said they could contribute to the Chinese supply lines by removing the bottlenecks and reducing transit times using optimized routes. He stated that this initiative by the Chinese authorities was incredibly welcome. He hopes that this will inspire other economies where such transshipment remains restricted.

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