Ocean carriers set up dedicated China-to-Mexico shipping routes as China increases Mexican presence

QINGDAO, China – Several major ocean carriers are setting up dedicated China-to-Mexico trade routes, signaling an increased push by China into Mexico.

As of April, the largest ocean shipper, Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC), as well as giants CMA CGM and Cosco subsidiary OOCL, have announced new lines for container ships to travel from several ports in China and South Korea to Mexico’s West Coast.

OOCL’s service, called TLP5, offers transit times of 15 and 20 days from Qingdao, China, to two Western Mexican ports. Eight ships will carry 4,000 to 6,000 twenty-foot equivalent containers, per FreightWaves.

“To enhance our network coverage in the emerging markets, we are very pleased to launch a new service TLP5 in our Asia Latin America network to provide a comprehensive port coverage in the regions,” OOCL said in a news release.

MSC will begin a loop shuttle service connecting the two countries this week. The first ship will also travel from Qingdao to Western Mexico.

“This new service will provide additional coverage and frequency between Asia and Mexico and is in addition to our existing network for the Andes, Aztec, Inca and Santana lines,” MSC said in a release.

Container shipping from China to Mexico has been surging, rising nearly 60% in January according to global freight intelligence platform Xeneta. Around 117,000 twenty-foot containers were shipped for the month, compared with 73,000 last January.

According to Xeneta’s chief analyst, Peter Sand, China to Mexico is “probably the strongest growing trade in the world right now.”

“The strength in trade between China and Mexico has been building, with the annual growth rate in 2023 standing at 34.8%, compared with just 3.5% in 2022,” he wrote in a blog post. “In January 2024, the China to U.S. West Coast trade lane was nine times bigger than China to Mexico. Back in January 2023, it was 11 times bigger. The difference in the scale of imports on these trades must not be ignored.”

Coinciding with this increase is Mexico’s climb as a trading partner to the U.S. In March, Mexico was America’s top trading partner, with two-way trade totaling $68.5 billion, according to the Census Bureau. March marked the third consecutive month of Mexico’s dominance, and the 13th of the past 14 months of being on top.

See also:

  • China to Mexico container shipping climbs 60% in a year
  • New sourcing startup connects producers with Mexican factories

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