Importers and exporters on the West Coast of South America will see their transport options expand when global container carriers APL and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) begin a new, jointly operated service to the region early next year.

The new service is scheduled to commence in January, pending the approval of the Federal Maritime Commission. It will operate between Balboa, Panama, and ports in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. The service will provide connections for APL to North America, Asia and Europe. MOL will use the new service to connect to and from destinations in North America and Europe.

Providing weekly, fixed-day port calls, the service will deploy three vessels ’ one to be operated by MOL and two by APL. This is not the first time that APL and MOL have collaborated to provide service to customers; both are members, along with Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., Ltd., of The New World Alliance.

APL currently serves the region through its West Coast Americas (WCA) service, which will run through the end of December. APL provides connections to Asia, North America and Europe through its Atlantic Pacific Express (APX) and New York Express (NYX). MOL currently serves the trade from Asia to the West Coast of South America with its CWL service.

Ray Keene, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of MOL (America), said, “We are pleased to expand our Latin America trade by adding this new segment. This service will complement and build on our existing services to meet the global shipping requirements of our customers in this high-growth market.”

John Bowe, President of APL’s Americas Region, said the new service is responding to the strong market demand that APL has seen in the last few years, especially in the refrigerated-cargo sector.

“Our customers are asking us to increase our offerings in the region,” Bowe said. “This service will provide new options for customers in this fast-growing area, as well as cater to the continually expanding trade between the West Coast of South America and the rest of the world. It will buttress our already strong service offerings throughout Latin America.”