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UK China Trade

A new direct shipping route between China and Scotland has been announced, with claims that the service could almost halve journey times for containers.

The new freight route on the China Xpress service – launched in April 2021 by Glasgow-based KC Group Shipping and Tilbury-situated DKT Allseas ­– is expected to cut journeys from 60 days to about 33 by eliminating port congestion delays in Rotterdam, according to the BBC.

Maiden voyage

The Herald reports that the maiden voyage from the Chinese port of Ningbo-Zhoushan is due to arrive at Greenock Port near Glasgow in mid-August, carrying 1,600 containers, with 4,800 containers coming to Scotland and returning to China each month.

KC Group have stated that the move was in response to increased pressures on global supply chain.

‘Game changer’

David Milne, managing director of KC Group, called the service a “game changer”, according to specialist website The Drinks Business.

“I’m constantly being told about the frustrations of delays at European ports, which hamper business operations and relationships for many. This was before the recent problems of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine escalated the issue,” he said.

Exports from Scotland will include beer, whisky, confectionery, gin, paper, shortbread, water, and machinery; imports will include textiles, furniture, toys, fitness equipment, and footwear.

Jim McSporran, of Greenock Port owner Peel Ports, said the move would benefit its customers.

Asian opportunities

Richard Muir, deputy chief executive of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said the new service would create for Scottish businesses across a variety of industries, as reported in The National.

“By cutting the transition time in half, this new route will help a huge range of sectors but it will be especially welcome within our food and drink sector who will now be able to export more goods to the Asian market,” he said.

Supply chain boost

“These direct services will reduce transit times and delays and prove to be a real boost to the wider supply chain,” he said.

Insider notes that Peel Ports recently announced it will install two new cranes at Greenock at a cost of £17m, in the largest single investment made at the container terminal since it opened in 1969.