The new service is aimed at all major customers in the region, covering all three of WWL’s cargo segments: automobiles, High & Heavy and break bulk.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) is very much aware of this; Asia is a major part of the company’s business, and WWL has played a major role in providing logistics solutions to the region’s growing economies. Along with its shipping routes linking Asian destinations to the rest of the world, WWL has also introduced such Asian-specific services as the three-times-monthly China Express linking Japan and China and the SEA Express linking main markets in South East Asia.

But, says Erik Noeklebye, Head of Commercial Region Asia for WWL in Tokyo, demand was driving the need for even more service to the region.

“For many years, we have been using the main trades from Asia to North America and Europe to connect Southeast and North East Asia,” he says. “But now the market and our customers are looking for an extended Intra-Asia Service with dedicated vessels, increased port coverage and improved service quality. We have re-engineered the current product, put in place dedicated sales and trade lane teams, and assigned dedicated vessels, all to better serve our customers. The new product will serve the smaller markets much better, not only from factory to dealer, but also to and from the US, Europe, South America, and so on.”

The new monthly service travels from Masan, Korea to Higashi Harima, Nagoya, and Yokohama in Japan; on to Shanghai and Guangzhou, China; Singapore; Laem Chabang, Thailand; back to Singapore; to Jakarta, Indonesia; once again to Singapore; to Port Kelang, Malaysia; and finally Chennai, India. It then returns to Masan, Korea via Singapore.

The new service, Mr. Noeklebye says, is aimed at all major customers in the region, covering all three of WWL’s cargo segments: automobiles, High & Heavy (H&H) and break bulk.

It allows us to support our global customer base much better,” he says, “not only for exports out of Asia, but within Asia. A lot of the products sold in Asia today are also sourced within the region. For example, European and American automobile manufacturers still export to China and other Asian countries, but we are seeing more and more of them setting up manufacturing sites in Asia.”

And, he adds, a special focus of the new service is on connecting India with WWL’s global network. “India emerging as a manufacturing hub for small- and medium-sized cars will lead to increased demand for stable ocean connection,” he says.

In fact, Mr. Noeklebye adds, WWL sees the inauguration of the extended Intra-Asia Service as just the beginning. “Trade within Asia is increasing fairly tremendously. One of our major H&H customers is looking at doubling its business in Asia by 2015, and then doubling that by 2020! So this is just the beginning, and we foresee that we will have to further enhance the product with more port coverage and frequency in order to serve the customer better in the future.”