Horizon Lines deploys first vessel on new China-U.S. express voyage

Horizon Lines, Inc., is one of only a handful of remaining U.S. domestic ocean shipping and integrated logistics companies. Up until recently, the Transpacific has been almost the exclusive domain of mega-carriers organized in “talking agreements” on pricing and capacity control.

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In a development that represents a contrary trend in ocean cargo shipping, the Horizon Hawk has departed Shanghai for Los Angeles last week on the inaugural voyage of the company’s new Transpacific Five Star Express (FSX) service.

The Hawk, which called Ningbo on December 13th and departed Shanghai on the 15th, will arrive in Los Angeles on December 26th before sailing on to Oakland and returning to Guam and China as part of its regular port rotation. This historic return to international ocean service for Horizon Lines is the culmination of more than 12 months of strategic planning and timely project execution.

Horizon Lines, Inc., is one of only a handful of remaining U.S. domestic ocean shipping and integrated logistics companies. Up until recently, the Transpacific has been almost the exclusive domain of mega-carriers organized in “talking agreements” on pricing and capacity control.


“The Five Star Express launch is an historic milestone in the evolution of Horizon Lines as we re-enter the international market, and a real credit to all of our associates who made it possible,” said Brian Taylor, Senior Vice President of International Services.

Using five 2,824 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) capacity Hunter Class vessels on the FSX service, Horizon Lines is offering some of the fastest transit times in the trans-Pacific trade, including 11-day port-to-port
transit from Shanghai to Los Angeles with Monday morning cargo availability every week at the nation’s busiest import gateway. Operations in China are handled by Hon Wing Lam as Owner’s Representative and Ben Line Agencies as General Agent in Shanghai and Ningbo.

Jon Monroe, president of Monroe Consulting in Shanghai, told LM that LA/Long Beach is perfect for this kind of service.

“You have a huge consumer base here,” he said, “and this port will always have room for a player willing to bring in new business.”

In addition to offering shippers a rapid trans-Pacific import alternative, the new Five Star Express Service will improve Horizon Lines’ existing service offering in Guam to serve an expanding military presence. The Five Star Express service port rotation sails Los Angeles - Oakland - Guam - Ningbo - Shanghai - Los Angeles.

As reported here earlier, Horizon Lines also has launched express intermodal container service to key inland U.S. cities in conjunction with the FSX service, offering some of the fastest inland transit times in the industry. These include 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 offers express inland service to Chicago, Memphis, Atlanta and Charlotte using on-dock rail connections to avoid drayage fees on the West Coast, saving customers time and expense.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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