NEPTUNE Pacific Direct Line is re-launching three of its major services with more direct calls, greater frequency and faster transits as it seeks to blanket the ANZ-South Pacific market.

The ANZPac service reverts to the AusPac nomenclature and becomes a two-ship vessel-sharing agreement with Swire Shipping. It will no longer detour via Auckland en route from East Coast Australia to the South Pacific, meaning direct routing and considerably faster transits. AusPac will sail fixed-day fortnightly from Port Botany, Melbourne and Brisbane (and monthly from Newcastle) to Noumea, Lautoka, Suva and Port Vila, with transhipment at Suva to Santo, Apia, Pago Pago, Funafuti, Nuku’alofa, Wallis, Futuna, Tarawa and Kiritimati.

The loss of NPDL’s trans-Tasman leg through the new AusPac format is more than compensated by a new, double-loop, fixed-day weekly service, effected through slot-charters on ANL’s TranzTas and ANZ Shuttle services. This set-up will ensure a Brisbane-Tauranga transit of seven days and also provide weekly relay service connections via Auckland and Tauranga to the Cook Islands, Tahiti and Tonga.

In the third upgrade, the NZPac service will offer a fixed-day, single-string weekly departure from NZ (Auckland and Tauranga, with coastal feeder from Lyttelton, Nelson and Napier) to Suva, Lautoka and Apia, and a fortnightly fix-day single-string sailing to and from Pago Pago and Nuku’alofa from NZ. Weekly sailings from Tauranga will provide custom connections to the CalPac US West Coast service over Apia, which is the most efficient port in the Pacific.

Suva will continue to act as NPDL’s hub for connections to the wider Pacific, and through various combinations shippers can also reach/source Micronesia, East Asia, South East Asia and Europe.

NPDL MD commercial & sales Rolf Rasmussen told DCN better performance at some ports, especially Auckland and Tauranga, had allowed de-coupling of the Australian and NZ services, improving the entire network.

“Our goal is always to create the most efficient network of these small services, getting the best frequency possible while improving connectivity. For example, we’ve long aspired to weekly frequency for Samoa but couldn’t make it work. Now we’ve got a much better fit for the jigsaw,” Mr Rasmussen said.

NPDL is a subsidiary of the Los-Angeles-based Wonderful Company, also owners of Fiji Water.