CMA CGM Caribbean service

The Port of Virginia was the first US East Coast port call on a reconfigured vessel service that connects the Caribbean with the East Coast.

The service began with the arrival of the Eclips, a vessel operated by CMA CGM, a French steamship line with a long-running relationship with the VPA. CMA CGM has its North American headquarters in Norfolk.

Vessels in this service will call at Portsmouth Marine Terminal, one of three deep-water marine terminals owned and operated by the VPA. Russell Held, the VPA’s deputy director of development, said the cargo would include a lot of commodities and textiles.

“The textile cargo, we believe, will open up some business opportunities in North Carolina, which is home to many of the big mills and manufacturers,” he said. “And, since Virginia is the first-in on this service, we’re also seeing opportunities for our customers to capitalize on our expanding north-bound rail service to the Midwest. This trade lane holds a lot of promise for growth on a couple of levels.”

There will be three vessels in this weekly service, with an average size of about 1,100 TEUs. The rotation is as follows: Virginia, Savannah, Miami, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the Antilles, Martinique, St. Lucia, Trinidad, Venezuela and Aruba.

“By strengthening the CAGEMA service, the CMA CGM Group can now offer its customers an optimum quality of service and unique port coverage between North America and the Caribbean region. Thanks to a strategic call at Rio Haina, it also guaranties new opportunities eastbound and westbound between America’s East Coast and the expanding market in the Dominican Republic,” said Laurent Falguière, vice-president Caribbean and Latin America Lines for CMA CGM.

The Port of Virginia now has three first-in calls: NYK from the east coast of South America, the CKYH Alliance from North Asia and CMA CGM from the Caribbean.

“Building these first-in calls provides a real service to our customers because it allows them to get their cargo on the shelves or manufacturing floor quicker – the down-time for transit is greatly reduced,” Held said.