SAN FRANCISCO, USA -- National Shipping of America (NSA) has announced the expansion of its “Isla Verde Express” (IVE), with the addition of a southbound Port Everglades call. The expansion will provide the fastest ocean connection between the US mainland and Puerto Rico (two days), and will create an American marine highway corridor from Texas to Florida.
Currently, the IVE offers a direct service between Houston and San Juan on a fortnightly basis. Starting October 2, 2013, the IVE fortnightly rotation will be Houston-Port Everglades-San Juan-Houston.
Transit times between Houston and San Juan match industry standards of six days southbound and seven days northbound. The addition of the Port Everglades call does not impact southbound transit times.
NSA deploys the MV National Glory, a US flagged container vessel with a capacity of 570 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent container Units), including 96 plugs for refrigerated containers. The vessel, upgraded in 2007 and configured both for containers and out-of-gauge cargo, uses low-sulfur diesel oil to minimize the impact on air quality. The National Glory is the most modern and greenest vessel in the US-Puerto Rico trade.
Port Everglades serves the greater Miami market, and is a major hub for Caribbean-destined cargo. Typical commodities shipped will include food items, rice, oils, paper, and building materials. There is also a robust market for oversize and breakbulk cargo, which due to the National Glory’s fully cellular underdeck and platform top deck design, makes it ideal to load both types of cargo.
The vessel will arrive at the Seafreight Terminal in Port Everglades on Saturday and depart Sunday. This end-of-week call enables South Florida shippers to consolidate their cargo during the week for a convenient weekend departure. Arrival in San Juan is on Wednesday with cargo available to customers by noon that day.
“The addition of Port Everglades provides US shippers with the fastest transit to Puerto Rico,” said Torey Presti, president of NSA. “For an island economy, a shorter transit time has huge benefits, especially for refrigerated cargo and other foodstuffs.”
The “Isla Verde Express” will also create America’s newest marine highway, connecting Texas and South Florida with a nonstop service. It will carry domestic cargo that will help to relieve congestion on US highways and rail networks. Transporting commodities from Texas to Florida via water transit results in a five times lower carbon dioxide emissions than truck transport, based per mile.
The road transit between Houston and Port Everglades is approximately 1,200 miles with an average drayage cost of about $2,700, according to industry estimates. NSA will provide a two-day, port-to-port service at a very competitive price level. NSA expects cargo to include lubricants, chemicals, and rice from the greater Houston area, and also electronics and building materials manufactured in Mexico and destined for South Florida.
“This is the first US-flagged continental coastal service from the Texas Gulf to Port Everglades that we have had in many years, and we welcome the additional service,” said Port Everglades chief executive and port director Steven Cernak. “The benefits of a US-flagged vessel calling between Houston and South Florida are that it offers shippers a ‘green’ option by taking trucks off the road.”
Since the IVE’s launch in May, it has maintained a 100 percent on-time record for both its southbound and northbound voyages.