SCOTLAND will receive a substantial boost for businesses and consumers as it prepares for its first direct container shipping link with China next month.

Glasgow-based KC Group Shipping has launched its exclusive China Xpress freight route, which will reduce transit times by almost a half and will carry up to 1600 shipping containers from Chinese ports direct to Greenock.

The same volume of containers will be shipped in return from Greenock to China.

It aims to address the supply chain disruption caused by the global pandemic and war in Ukraine and enable cargo delivery to and from the UK for importers and exporters.

Glasgow Times:

David Milne, KC Group Shipping managing director, described the "opportunities and benefits" of the scheme as "endless".

He added: “This is a game-changer, not just for KC Group Shipping, but for the whole of Scotland.

“This trade link could not have come at a better time for Scottish businesses. 

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“I’m constantly being told about the frustrations of delays at European ports, which hamper business operations and relationships for many.

“This was before the recent problems of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine escalated the issue.

“These frustrations will significantly reduce as a result of the China Xpress service.

“That’s not just fantastic news for Scottish businesses, but it’s great for Scottish consumers too."

The maiden voyage has departed Ningbo, China, and is set to arrive at Greenock Port around August 20.

Sailings will occur three times a month with a 10-day port rotation and will be between the ports of Ningbo and Dongguan to Liverpool and Greenock. 

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The service aims to cut the journey time from approximately 60 days to an estimated 33 days by eliminating unscheduled port congestion delays in Rotterdam.

Mr Milne, who started at the business in 1993 as a 15-year-old on a two-week work experience placement, added: “Everyone suffers from increased costs, from the importers and exporters, through to the end consumer. 

“Reliability of shipping schedules are at a global record low of below 30%; they were previously almost always above 90%.

"I am encouraged that Scotland's industries now have a solution to ensure commerce, products and trade in and out of Scotland, have an effective and competitive way forward.

"China Xpress is one of the most significant developments in the UK, especially Scotland's shipping industry, for many years."

The service will provide a huge exporting boost, the Glasgow-based firm said, for the food and drink sector, including many prestigious Scottish whisky brands. 

The oil and gas sector will be helped too by sales of machinery and pipes from Scotland.

As China plays a significant role in the global furniture and textiles supply chains, those industries and consumers within Scotland will also benefit from this new service.

Mr Milne said: “Supply chain efficiency is vital to business growth and survival, and Scotland’s economy requires effective trade links to support consumers’ needs. 

“Businesses can still get on board before our August maiden departure from Greenock, with some container space availability."