Kawasaki Kisen Ltd., a Japanese shipping company also known as K-Line, has begun service to the port of Savannah, a destination chosen for its proximity to regional distrubution centers, including that of Atlanta-based Home Depot Corp.

The port will host K-Line ships in a joint operating agreement with shipping companies throughout Asia, including COSCO of China, Yang Ming of Taiwan, and Hanjiin of South Korea. Company officials said that K-Line is currently the worldís seventh largest container shipping line.

“Georgia has long been an important market for us,” said Ray McDermott, K-Line vice president, in a recent statement. “We look forward to strengthening our relationship with our customers, as well as opening up additional opportunities for new customers.”

Savannah now has 13 all-water services to and from Asia every week, according to Robert Morris, Georgia Ports Authority spokesman. Plans are underway to further expand the port’s Asian connections this year, he added.

Additional distribution centers located near the port of Savannah, attractive to Asian trade, include Best Buy, K-Mart, Lowes, Wal-Mart and Pier 1 distribution locations.