Leigh Miller for GlobalAtlanta
A new weekly shipping service between China and Savannah via the Panama Canal is to start in September, according to the Georgia Ports Authority.

The new route, called the EC3 service, is to be operated by the shipping line Grand Alliance, comprised of Orient Overseas International Ltd., Nippon Yusen Kabusiki Kaisha and Hapag-Lloyd AG, plus the New World Alliance, comprised of Neptune Orient Lines Ltd., Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. and Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. Ltd.

Beginning in Shanghai, China, cargo ships on the route will pass through the ports of Chiwan and Shekou, China; Hong Kong and Manzanillo, Mexico, before docking in Savannah, and will then go to Norfolk, Va., on their return to Shanghai.

The new EC3 route through the Panama Canal is a response to continually increasing cargo imports from China to the U.S. East Coast, and not all containers coming from China are returning there full of U.S. cargo, according to Robert Morris, director of external affairs at the ports authority.

Mr. Morris told GlobalAtlanta that the ports authority has been working on getting this new route for about six months. Savannah was selected because of its “highly competitive operation,” he said.

The Port of Savannah recently opened its eighth container berth that increases its capacity by 20 percent.

Savannah also recently acquired the “Shanghai/Savannah Express” route, a 21-day shipping route between Shanghai and Savannah.

For more information, contact Mr. Morris at (912) 964-3855 or rmorris@gaports.com. Visit www.gaports.com.