Following congestion on the US West Coast towards the end of 2004, the pressure has been on carriers to launch additional services via the Panama Canal. The Evergreen Group has responded to this challenge by introducing new services of its own and complementing these with slot charter arrangements with other carriers. Together with Cosco Container Lines (Coscon), Evergreen Marine Corporation (EMC) is launching a new service linking China with the southern states of the US. Designated the CUE service, it will link the ports of Shanghai, Yantian and Hong Kong with Evergreen’s Panamanian hub terminal, Colon Container Terminal (CCT), Savannah and Miami. Over CCT, Evergreen offers established feeder links to ports in Central America, the Caribbean and the north and west coasts of South America. Using nine ships, each of around 2,700 TEU, five from Evergreen and four from Coscon, the CUE service will be operating a regular weekly schedule with effect from May but the first sailings will commence on an ad hoc basis in mid March, augmenting Evergreen’s existing Asia – US East Coast services. Evergreen Group companies Lloyd Triestino (to be renamed Italia Marittima with effect from 1 March 2006) will also have slot allocations on the CUE service. According to EMC’s President, Arnold Wang, the new CUE service will enhance the company’s network from the Far East to the US East Coast and Gulf area, providing sufficient slots for customers in the coming peak season: “We believe that the West Coast may again suffer congestion in 2006 and so, together with Coscon, we are taking action now. This will allow our customers to revise their supply chain arrangements ahead of any possible problems that they may anticipate later in the year.” The Evergreen Group already offers four direct services between Asia and the US East Coast, namely EMC’s NUE pendulum service that links Asia with North Europe via the Panama Canal and the US East Coast; two end-to-end schedules, EMC’s AUE and LT’s AUX services; and a slot share agreement with the New World Alliance, the NYX service.