Another major player is working around the logjams in the container shipping business by securing its own ships — and using general cargo vessels to carry containers. Lowell, Ark., based J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. (NASDAQ: JBHT), one of the largest supply chain solutions providers in North America, announced today that the cargo vessel Johnelle has docked at the Port of Everett in Washington, with more than 250 new containers reserved for the expansion of J.B. Hunt’s intermodal fleet.
The Johnnie Bryan, a second cargo vessel, is expected to dock at the Port of Hueneme in California next month with additional new containers. The two are part of a long-term, multi-vessel service agreement with Swire Shipping Pte. Ltd. that will help expedite the overseas transport of new J.B. Hunt containers and provide its customers with a solution for accelerating international cargo movement from Asia.
According to the Equasis data base, the Johnelle is a 2011-built, 9,638 dwt general cargo ship that was previously named Pacific Integrity (it started life as the Maersk Texas).
“This is yet another example of our people listening to the needs of customers and developing a creative solution to efficiently deliver on their capacity needs,” said John Roberts, president and CEO of J.B. Hunt. “It is our honor to name two of the vessels helping us charter new waters this year after the original visionaries who knew the potential of what our company could be.”
Johnelle Hunt is the widow of Johnnie Bryan Hunt. The couple launched J.B. Hunt Transport Services in 1969 with five trucks and seven trailers.
Under the agreement with Swire, J.B. Hunt will have ongoing cargo shipping opportunities available from the Shenzhen, Qingdao and Shanghai markets in China to ports in California and the Pacific Northwest. The company says the planned moves will help customers alleviate supply chain challenges such as equipment dislocation and fluidity, dwell time and demurrage by streamlining the ocean transport and transloading process.
“We’re really solving for two very big challenges with this agreement,” said Darren Field, president of intermodal and executive vice president at J.B. Hunt. “First, we’re adding intermodal capacity, which will provide customers with more opportunity to leverage the cost-savings and sustainability benefits that J.B. Hunt Intermodal offers. Second, we’re greatly reducing the time it takes for customers’ freight originating overseas to be out for delivery in the U.S., something that has troubled the industry for years.”
Along with the support of additional vessel capacity, the Johnelle and Johnnie Bryan will continue transporting new J.B. Hunt containers overseas as they become available, delivering on the company’s commitment to grow its intermodal fleet to as many as 150,000 containers in the next three-to-five years. J.B. Hunt’s intermodal fleet currently includes more than 109,000 53-foot containers and 6,000 tractors.