SWIRE Shipping says it will operate its North Asia Express service on a fixed day fortnightly basis from November 2020 to better serve customers in the Asia-Pacific.

The newly upgraded service is to connect North Asia with PNG and Australia with a frequency of 14 days and be supported through the deployment of Swire Shipping’s 2,750TEU newbuild ships.

Under this change, customers are expected to have a nine-day transit time from Hong Kong SAR to Lae on the north coast of PNG.

“Our direct express services from Asia to the Pacific have always been popular with customers and we are pleased to be able to offer more options to them with these newly announced improved frequencies on the upgraded NAX service,” said Jeremy Sutton, Swire Shipping general manager.

Swire Shipping is to deploy three vessels on this service, including its first 2,750TEU newbuild, MV Lae Chief, which is to be delivered this month.

It is fitted with 45metric tonne cranes and is capable of dual lifts, making the ship equipped to carry all cargo types, including breakbulk, out of gauge and reefers.

“Our significant investment in modern vessels and improving schedule reliability underpins our commitment to enriching lives by connecting our customers with the communities in the Pacific,” Mr Sutton said.

“This service upgrade will enable Swire Shipping’s customers to improve their supply chain efficiency and inventory management from both an import and export perspective. Swire Shipping has been a leading provider of shipping solutions in the Pacific region for more than 80 years and I am confident that these new changes over the next few months will enable us to serve our customers even better than before.”

The NAX service is part of Swire Shipping’s network that is focused on connecting global supply chains to the communities of PNG and the Pacific Islands. The service was launched in July 2015 to provide a direct link between North Asia, Townsville and Lae in PNG.