Market Updates

UWL and Swire Shipping Announce Year Two Commitments and IPI Program For Sun Chief Express Service

Increased demand for dedicated, direct express service underscores long-term value in niche carriers  

CLEVELAND, Ohio, October 18, 2022
– UWL is contracting into 2024 with Swire Shipping for the Sun Chief Express service, the premium, direct service between Vietnam and Seattle, Washington.

“The rapid drop in ocean shipping rates has not slowed the market interest or our commitment to the development of our Sun Chief express service,” said UWL President Duncan Wright. “Of course, customers will always care about rates, but there are additional considerations to keep in mind in a declining market. We are seeing customers place priority on reliability and speed and we are proud that our Sun Chief Express service creates desirable solutions as an alternative to the normal service levels from other carriers.”

Since its launch in April of 2022, Sun Chief has consistently delivered the fastest transit time for a direct sailing – only 20 days from Ho Chi Minh, and 17 days from Haiphong, Vietnam to Seattle, Washington. The service guarantees reliability and availability for customers: there are no blank sailings, no rolled cargo, and schedules are published six months in advance.

This service now includes connecting origins and destinations Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Jakarta and Laem Chabang through Ho Chi Minh. Adding to this, we have launched an IPI offering connecting Seattle to Memphis, Chicago, Kansas City, Toronto and Montreal, with market leading door-to-door transit times. Vancouver is serviced via Swire Shipping-owned Westwood Shipping Lines.

UWL Swire Sun Chief Two Year CommittmentSwire Shipping Vessel, Honiara Chief, laden with UWL containers, calls on Seattle's T30 Terminal

With customer contracts signed for a second year and boasting the most reliable service available from SE Asia to the US West Coast with a 100% on-time performance, Sun Chief has demonstrated that there is a place for new, niche entrants into the carrier market.

“Our vision is to be our Customers Partner of Choice,” said Rufus Frere-Smith, Regional Head, Americas, Swire Shipping. “Being the Owner and Operator of a fleet of new, best in class, high speed, eco container ships has enabled us to develop new niches in the market. We have the ability to pivot – at short notice – to the demands and vagaries of the market. Furthermore, our recent acquisition of Westwood Shipping Lines has opened up synergies that give us access to infrastructure to service Inland Points in the USA and Canada”.

Additional investments in the Pacific Northwest have been made by UWL’s warehouse company, World Distribution Services (WDS), who recently opened a 300,000 sq ft distribution facility just south of the Port of Seattle. This facility will offer customers high-speed cross-docking and 53’ intermodal services, a key pillar to seeing Seattle become the 4th major gateway to the US market.

“There are few guarantees in today’s freight market,” added Wright. “Together with Swire Shipping, UWL is guaranteeing that Sun Chief will be here and will be reliable for the long-term. We continue to prove that niche carriers not only belong but can excel in this market as premium alternatives for the long term to the benefit of our customers.”  


About UWL

UWL is a top 15 American-owned NVOCC and leading provider of global 3PL services. They take pride in delivering seamless supply chain solutions backed by a team of creative problem-solvers. Specializing in ocean transportation, air freight, road and rail, warehousing and distribution, project cargo, and customs house brokerage, their proof is in owned assets: a national network of distribution centers, dependable trucking capacity, and WorldScope, a user-friendly data management platform that delivers transparency and visibility customers can count on. Wherever your freight needs to go, they can help get it there. To find out more, visit their website at


About Swire Shipping 

Swire Shipping is the wholly owned, deep-sea ship owning and operating arm of the multinational Swire group. Founded in 1872, it is the oldest operating entity of the group. Today, Swire Shipping is a leading provider of specialist customer solutions for various types of cargoes and aims to offer a full suite of land and ocean solutions. Dedicated to facilitating and growing trade in regions where it operates, Swire Shipping provides several high frequency liner services in the Asia-Pacific; landside logistics services; and specialist shipping services for project cargoes under the brand name, Swire Projects. It connects 400 ports globally and maintains a worldwide agency network in addition to its own representative offices across the Asia-Pacific, Pacific Islands, North America and Europe, providing its customers with dedicated service and expert market knowledge. For more information, please visit 


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