National Shipping of America, which in May started a fortnightly service between Houston and Puerto Rico, said it will add a southbound call in Port Everglades, enabling it to offer both fast transit from the mainland to Puerto Rico and a "marine highway" service from Houston to South Florida.
Starting Oct. 2, NSA said its "Island Verde Express" will have a fortnightly rotation of Houston-Port Everglades-San Juan-Houston.
NSA said the addition of the Port Everglades call will not impact its six-day southbound transit time from Houston to Puerto Rico.
NSA operates the National Glory
, a 570-TEU U.S.-flag ship with 96 refrigerated container plugs.
The company said there's a "robust" market to Puerto Rico for oversize and breakbulk cargo, and its ship is ideal to carry both containers and other non-containerized freight because it has a fully cellular underdeck and platform top deck design.
NSA's 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 company said.
“The addition of Port Everglades provides U.S. shippers with the fastest transit to Puerto Rico,” said Torey Presti, NSA's president. “For an island economy, a shorter transit time has huge benefits, especially for refrigerated cargo and other foodstuffs.”
NSA said road transit between Houston and Port Everglades is about 1,200 miles, and the average drayage cost is about $2,700. The carrier will offer 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 U.S.-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 U.S.-flagged vessel calling between Houston and South Florida are that it offers shippers a ‘green’ option by taking trucks off the road.”