China’s SAIC Motor Corporation this week began shipping its own cars directly to Europe from its local port of Shanghai, according to local reports.
The Shanghai-based automaker launched its first self-operated ship, the “SAIC Anji Phoenix” roll-on/roll-off car carrier, on its maiden voyage to Europe on Tuesday with 1,800 new energy vehicles on board to help meet growing demand in the region.
The first strop will be Bristol in the UK, before the ships heads to its final destination in the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium. This is the first direct shipping route for Chinese cars to Europe, with previous consignments having had to make multiple stops en route. The new route will shorten the shipping time by one week.
The head of SAIC’s international business Yu De said European demand for SAIC’s new energy vehicles has increased significantly this year, particularly in the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. He added “in the past our exports to Europe were too limited for a dedicated shipping service. But with our sales continuing to increase in this region we decided to launch a self-operated shipping route, which helps to increase the competitiveness of our cars in these markets”.
SAIC said it has exported a total of 221,000 vehicles to all overseas markets in the first nine months of 2020. It aims to increase this to 1 million units per year by 2025.