Port adds customer

Hamburg Sud’s new Charleston service will call at the State Ports Authority’s Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant (above).

Hamburg Sud, one of the world’s top-20 container shipping lines, is pulling its only Georgia port-of-call from the Port of Savannah in favor of the Port of Charleston.

When the ship Bahia Grande calls on Charleston in September, it will mark the start of Hamburg Sud’s additional service, the fourth new shipping service attracted to the port this year.

“We are pleased to add a new, weekly Australia service in the Port of Charleston, which effectively fills a gap in our service offerings,” said Jim Newsome, State Ports Authority president and CEO.

A spokeswoman for Hamburg Sud said relocating the Australia/New Zealand service to the Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant allows the shipper to be more efficient.

“With this transfer we now have four weekly liner services in the port and have consolidated our network in the Southeast in Charleston,” said Mayra Ortiz at Hamburg Sud North America. “In total Hamburg Sud will now have 208 annual ship calls in Charleston with owned ships or through arrangements with our partner lines.”

The four new services announced this year at the Port of Charleston will mean five additional ports-of-call each week. In a typical summer week, the port sees more than 30 ship calls.

Hamburg Sud’s decision to leave Savannah for Charleston comes at a time when the rival ports are aggressively pursuing new business.

Newsome has said that Charleston will need to take business from rivals in order to meet the SPA’s growth targets.

News of the new shipping service comes during the same week when the SPA announced a proposed $23.5 million “inland port” intermodal facility in Greer, and the Army Corps of Engineers said plans to deepen the Charleston harbor to accommodate larger container ships could be completed four years ahead of initial projections.

Geogia also is seeking to deepen its navigation channel serving the Port of Savannah.

Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or Twitter @DSladeNews.