Port of Oakland in the US has announced that a new direct service will commence this week to Asia and the Middle East.

With the new service, 18 mega-ships will connect the port to Asia, including Saudi Arabia. This is the first direct connection to the Middle East.

Japan’s Ocean Network Express line will operate the service named the Far East-Pacific 2 every week.

The first ship ONE Aquila is expected to reach the Oakland International Container Terminal on 7 May.

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The ships can accommodate 14,000 20ft containers, which makes them the biggest container vessels calling at ports in the US.

Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll said: “Naturally, we are encouraged by this development.

“The size of the ships means extra cargo capacity coming to Oakland and the port rotation extends Oakland’s reach in global markets.”

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The ship will call at nine ports in Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Hong Kong, China, US and Saudi Arabia.

The two services arriving at Oakland were consolidated into the Far East-Pacific 2 by ONE.

The cargo mix using the new service will be equally distributed between exports and imports. A major part of the cargo will be the California farm goods exported to overseas markets.

The eastbound rotation of the Far East-Pacific 2 will be to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Singapore; Laem Chabang, Thailand; Cai Mep, Vietnam; Hong Kong; Yantian, China and Long Beach and Oakland in the US.

The westbound port rotation will be from Oakland to Yokohama, Japan; Hong Kong; Laem Chabang, Thailand; Cai Mep, Vietnam; Singapore, Rotterdam, Netherlands; Hamburg, Germany; Antwerp, Belgium and Southampton, UK.