Tapping into the South American fruit harvest season, Wan Hai Lines has adjusted its Asia-South America (ASA) service to include a call at Peru’s Paitas port.

The Taiwanese liner operator, known more as an intra-Asia specialist, is allocating more reefers to the ASA service to meet strong customer demand.

Touting the service as the market's first and only direct connection between Paitas and Asia, Wan Hai said that the transportation time has been significantly reduced, by nine days. The carrier said that there is particularly strong demand in Asia for South American grapes, cherries and blueberries.

ASA will be served by the newly built 3,055TEU Wan Hai 322, which was delivered by Japan Marine United Corporation in October 2020. The service loop is Kaohsiung, Shekou, Hong Kong, Ningbo, Shanghai, Manzanillo, Lazaro Cardenas, Puerto Quetzal, Callao, Guayaquil, Paitas and back to Kaohsiung.

The carrier said, “Especially in the current Covid-19 pandemic, borders have closed, making leisure overseas travel impossible. Blanked sailings and customers’ demand for exotic fruits have unexpectedly increased the demand for reefers.”

Wan Hai staff enjoying the latest batch of exotic fruit imports. Source: Wan Hai.

This year, Wan Hai has spent more than TW$3 billion (US$103 million) on building nearly 40,000 20ft containers, and TW$1 billion (US$34 million) on upgrading 50% of its reefer fleet.

The upgrades include implementing air-conditioning of variable frequency and a gas regulation system to effectively control reefer temperatures.

In a report issued on 2 December, Drewry Shipping Consultants said that exotic fruits are powering reefer shipping. “Future growth is expected to come from accelerating trade in exotic fruits, thanks to new technology which is lengthening potential shipping distances and opening up new markets where discretionary spend is rising.”

Photo of Wan Hai staff with fruit imports

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent