By Amy Watkins For The Herald Business Journal
EVERETT — Seven shipping lines are now calling at the Port of Everett.
Austral Asia Line, a subsidiary of Schoeller Holdings, in November celebrated the inaugural call of its new liner service at the Port of Everett.
The company, also referred to as AAL, is headquatered in Singapore and specializes in transporting break-bulk — items that must be loaded individually and not in containers — and heavylift project cargoes to and from the Far East.
Those cargoes often support energy markets, said James Clouse, owner representative North America for AAL.
“Right now we’re selling Everett pretty heavily,” Clouse said. “Our goal and our plan is to be there every 30 days.”
AAL was excited to begin calling at the Port of Everett, he added.
“It does have a geographical advantage due to the fact it is closer to Vancouver, B.C.,” Clouse said. “For us, it really matches our business model quite well.”
The Port of Everett specializes in high value oversized cargo for the construction and manufacturing industries. It launched its first three shipping lines in 2005 and business has continued to grow ever since, said Lisa Lefeber, Port of Everett spokeswoman.
Those first three shipping lines to call at the port were Westwood Shipping Lines, Eastern Car Liner, and Far Eastern Shipping Co.
Westwood is a subsidiary of J-WeSco, a holding company formed by a consortium of Japanese stevedore companies.
It brings weekly aerospace shipments for Boeing to the Port of Everett and serves customers in more than 20 ports in Japan, Korea, China and North America.
“We make 51 calls a year in Everett,” said Grant Stewart, vice president of marine operations with Westwood Shipping Lines. “(The Port of Everett) provides a real good service for us. We’re always looking for cargo opportunities and the port is trying to encourage ships to go through the port.”
Eastern Car Liner specializes in heavy equipment machinery cargo ranging from automobiles and trucks to bulldozers and other vehicles, electric locomotives, subway carriages and other rolling equipment.
The company offers regular passages between main ports in Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan to the United States East and West Coasts.
Far Eastern Shipping Co. or FESCO, operates from the Port of Everett in an alliance with another shipping line that calls the port, Eukor Car Carriers. FESCO offers monthly service with roll-on/roll-off vessels which sail directly from Everett to Vladivostok, Russia, according to Mike Evans, president of FESCO Agencies North America, Inc.
FESCO from 2007 to 2011 handled a gold mining project which was under construction and development in Chukotka, Russia, Evans added. The Kinross Gold project, as it is now called, brought thousands of containers through Port of Everett.
“The Port of Everett continues to support the roll-on/roll-off service with their skilled personnel, knowledgeable staff and aggressive stance to be competitive on the West Coast,” Evans said.
While Eukor Car Carriers transports cars and other kinds of rolling cargo, another shipping line that calls at the Port of Everett, also specializes in the shipment of automobiles. Hyundai Glovis, a South Korean based company, entered the shipping industry in 2010 and has its own fleet of car carriers and bulk carriers.
Another Russian shipping company that calls the Port of Everett is Sakhalin Shipping Co. or SASCO. This service from the Port of Everett began in July 2012 to support the mining industry in the Russian Arctic. SASCO specializes in project cargoes in support of the construction and mining industries.
“It’s a seasonal service because our ships only call the port in the ice free season,” said Ralf Bremsner, vice president, SASCO America Inc., General Agents. “Generally the first ship will load in Everett at the end of July and the last ship will load the beginning of October.”
The Port of Everett exported more than $12.6 billion in cargo in 2012, a 29 percent increase over the previous year, according to the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Division.
Those numbers boosted the port to the second fastest growing export port on the West Coast and earned it a fifth place ranking on the West Coast in export value. The top four spots went to the Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach, Port of Oakland, and Port of Seattle.
The Port of Everett supports more than 35,000 jobs in Snohomish County and the region and is interested in continuing to add more shipping lines, Lefeber said.
“We’ve been working very dillegently to try and grow our cargo base in shipping,” she said. “It’s one of those industries that everyone is connected with. We see growing the shipping terminal as a way to fulfill our mission of growing jobs.”