COSCO Shipping announced that it will be adding Port Tampa Bay to its Gulf of Mexico Express (GME) Transpacific service, with the first vessel M/V COSCO PIRAEUS scheduled to arrive on January 28, 2019. 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 and 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," says Paul Anderson, President and CEO of port Tampa Bay. "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."
The port is the closest to Florida's fastest growing region and its largest consumer market, the Tampa Bay/ Orlando 1-4 Corridor. As trucking costs increase, the port's location is recognized as offering the lowest delivery cost solution for exporters and importers. From this central location, 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.
The port has continued to expand and upgrade facilities over the last few last years and has also invested in new facilities to continue to diversify its service offerings and cargo mix. 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.
"We have been big supporters of port Tampa Bay's efforts to attract new services because of our significant DC 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," says Ali Hosein, vice president of international freight and merchandising of Rooms to Go.