Horizon Lines Inc., a U.S. domestic ocean shipping and integrated logistics company, plans to launch express intermodal container service to key inland U.S. cities when it begins the new Five Star Express (FSX) trans-Pacific liner service in December.
The maiden FSX voyage is scheduled to depart Ningbo, China, on December 14, 2010, Shanghai on December 15, and arrive in Los Angeles on December 26. Approximately 60% of the initial voyage is already subscribed, as the company continues to make steady progress toward its goal of 75% bookings for the first sailing.
At a time when U.S. retailers are maintaining lower inventory levels and placing more logistics responsibilities on their manufacturing partners in China, the new service will help keep supply chains running smoothly, claims Brian Taylor, senior vice president of international services at Horizon Lines.
Horizon Lines plans to offer some of the fastest inland transit times in the industry, including 15-day availability in Kansas City from Shanghai and 16-day availability in Dallas, using scheduled intermodal rail service from Los Angeles every week. The carrier also will offer express inland service to Chicago, Memphis, Atlanta and Charlotte using on-dock rail connections to avoid drayage fees on the West Coast. Horizon Lines plans to expand the inland express network to other locations throughout the United States next year.
Five of Horizon Lines' vessels currently call ports in China under its transportation services agreement with Maersk Line, and this trans-Pacific service has been in place since December 1999. Once this agreement expires on December 10, 2010, Horizon Lines will begin transporting general cargo from Ningbo and Shanghai on behalf of direct commercial customers. Sales and marketing efforts for the service have been formally underway since March.
In addition to offering customers a trans-Pacific import alternative, the new Five Star Express service will allow Horizon Lines to better accommodate an expanding military presence in Guam, where trade is expected to grow significantly in coming years. The Five Star Express service will connect with Horizon Lines' warehousing and distribution capabilities on the U.S. West Coast and intermodal rail service to inland destinations to create an integrated import/export solution.