WESTWOOD Shipping Lines is changing its name to Swire Shipping, effective 1 February 2024.

Swire Shipping acquired the niche vessel operator in June 2022 through its affiliate SSPL US. Westwood specialises in the trade between north-east Asia and the Pacific Northwest.

Swire Shipping will continue to operate Westwood’s office in Puyallup, Washington as the regional hub for its North America operations.

Seven vessels from the Swire Shipping owned fleet will operate on the Westwood service within the expanded global network, with four vessels retaining their existing Westwood name and green hulls as a nod to the company’s 130-year legacy.

Swire Shipping North America president Harry Stones said Westwood had built a loyal following among customers and service partners in North America and North Asia.

“The Westwood service will complement Swire Shipping’s other services in North America with the Sun Chief Express Ocean Service and the US West Coast – Pacific Islands service,” he said.

Swire Shipping said Westwood’s rebranding would enable the company to better service customers in North America, Japan, South Korea and China.

And in recognition of “strong ties with Japanese customers and their supply chains,” Swire Shipping also announced the establishment of a new office in Tokyo, Japan.

Chris Robertson, Swire Shipping’s general manager, Asia and Northern Hemisphere, said rebranding Westwood would strengthen Swire’s position in Japan and South Korea.

“Moreover, in a move that sets us apart in the Japanese market, we have transferred our representation in Tokyo to our own branch office, reflecting our commitment to customers and our confidence in the region’s growth potential.”

Swire Shipping said the move allows it to consolidate agency representations in Japan by bringing agency representations previously held by Ben Line Agencies (Japan) and Senwa Maritime Agency in-house.

Staff from Ben Line Agencies and Senwa Maritime are to be be transferred to the new Swire Shipping branch office.