Japanese ocean carrier MOL announced Monday it has launched new services to carry cars produced in Mexico to a number of U.S. East Coast and West Coast ports to meet growing demand.
Automakers have rapidly expanded production capacity in Mexico in recent years and analysts predict auto production will increase by more than 10 percent per year for several years. Approximately 3 million vehicles were produced in Mexico last year, about 80 percent of which were exported.
MOL will provide weekly shuttle service with three mid-size vessels from Veracruz to ports in Jacksonville, Fla.; Brunswick, Ga.; Baltimore; Newark, N.J.; and Davisville, R.I. The first vessel sailed in March with vehicles from American Honda, Norio Abe, vice president of MOL Bulk Shipping (USA), said. Nissan Motor Co. and Mazda will also begin to use the service later this month.
Abe said the company has also begun a bi-weekly service from Lazaro Cardenas to the West Coast ports of San Diego; Richmond, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; Tacoma, Wash., and New Westminster, British Columbia in Canada. The car carrier is taking advantage of vessels in an existing service that transports cars from European plants to East Coast ports and then transits the Panama Canal to deliver vehicles at the Port of Los Angeles before heading to the Far East. There are four sailings per month and two of those will now make a stop in Lazaro Cardenas to pick up Mexican-made vehicles. The initial customers are American Honda and Mazda.
MOL expects to increase the frequency of the West Coast service to once a week within a year as customers build up production volume, Abe said.
Read about the growing need for short-sea shuttle service for Mexican auto exports to supplement rail capacity to the United States in American Shipper
's April feature story, "Mexico Marine Highway