The container ship Hanjin Milano made its maiden call at Conley Terminal Friday, the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) announced. This is the first time that Hanjin Shipping (Hanjin) has called the Port of Boston directly, opening a new channel of economic impact for the region.

“The Port of Boston is the waterborne trade gateway for New England and a primary economic engine for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Thomas P. Glynn, Massport CEO. “As we work to dredge the harbor, the addition of new ships and new lines demonstrates that New England continues to be a strong market. A competitive international city requires a competitive international port and our investments in dredging and other maritime infrastructure will help ensure that the Port of Boston can continue to create and support good-paying, blue collar jobs and provide $4.6 billion in overall economic impact to the region.” Hanjin, the 8th largest container shipping line in the world by capacity, is part of the CKYHE Alliance, for which COSCO is the lead line, and will now call the Port of Boston’s Conley Terminal directly as part of the AWE2 weekly service to and from Asia.

Over half of the Port of Boston’s container volumes move via the AWE2 service. This service began in March of 2002 and grew from just a few thousand twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in its first year of operation to over 100,000 TEUs last year. Hanjin’s volume on the AWE2 service has increased 409-percent over the same period. The service continues to show steady growth, reflecting the strong trade ties between New England and Asia, primarily China. In the seven-month period from January to July of 2014, the AWE2 service volumes totaled 59,065 TEUs, up 13-percent from the same period in 2013.

“This new ship is significant for the vitality of the Port and a good sign for the future,” said Port Director Deborah Hadden. “Hanjin’s decision to call the Port of Boston directly and put a ship into the rotation of the AWE2 service represents a higher level of commitment to Boston than we have seen in the past and an investment in the New England market. We welcome the Hanjin Milano to Boston and look forward to continuing to strengthen our partnership with all of the CKYHE partners.”

With the August 1 maiden call of the Hanjin Milano, Hanjin became the second major global container shipping line to call the Port of Boston directly from Asia. COSCO, the 5th largest container shipping line in the world by capacity, has been providing direct weekly service to and from Asia since 2002. In less than two weeks, Evergreen Line, the world’s 4th largest container shipping line by capacity, will also add a ship to the AWE2 service calling Boston’s Conley Terminal. The world’s 2nd largest container shipping line by capacity, MSC, operates two weekly services at the Port of Boston. One service runs to and from North Europe and the other runs to and from the Mediterranean.

Each year, more than 1.5 million metric tons of cargo passes through Massport’s terminals in the Port of Boston, which provide the shipping facilities New England needs to compete in the global economy.