EVERGREEN Line and China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) will join Cosco as vessel operators in an intra-Asia loop that links China, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
The deal was struck with high hopes that intra-Asia cargo volumes will continue to grow driven by measures taken by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to encourage free trade.
Evergreen said in a statement the China-Surabaya Express Service (CSX) will now be operated with four ships in the 2,000 to 2,700 TEU range, two of which will be provided by Cosco, while Evergreen and CSCL will provide one ship each, reported American Shipper.
Evergreen's first sailing on the CSX was scheduled to set sail from Qingdao on May 20. The port rotation is Qingdao, Shanghai, Xiamen, Shenzhen-Shekou, Pasir Gudang, Singapore, Surabaya, Singapore and back to Qingdao.
After the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) was established in 2010, bilateral trade volumes have continued to rise. According to the statistics published by China's General Administration of Customs, its import and export trade with ASEAN grew by 8.3 per cent to US$480.4 billion in 2014.
In addition, the ASEAN community has actively negotiated with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand to establish the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
"It is believed that this significant development will further encourage free trade and have the effect of driving cargo growth within the intra-Asia trade," the Taiwan-based shipping line said.