The first-ever direct container service connecting China and Scotland is being launched amid growing global pressures on the supply chain.
Connecting various Chinese ports to Greenock Ocean Terminal, the move will provide Scottish importers and exporters with a direct port of call to the country.
The East and West bound freight route has been launched following a partnership between KC Liner Agencies, DKT Allseas, and China Xpress.
The “game-changing” direct sailings will almost halve transit times, compared to feeder services via Europe or other UK ports.
It is hoped the move will eliminate decades of “frustrating” issues with transhipments and major delays at other European ports.
David Milne, KC Group shipping managing director, said: “This is a game-changer, not just for KC Group Shipping, but for the whole of Scotland.
“China Xpress is one of the most significant developments in the UK, especially Scotland’s shipping industry, for many years.
“The opportunities and benefits are endless, and this trade link could not have come at a better time for Scottish businesses.
“I’m constantly being told about the frustrations of delays at European ports, which hamper business operations and relationships for many.
“These frustrations will significantly reduce as a result of the China Xpress service.”
The first voyage is set to depart from Ningbo, China, and is scheduled to arrive at Scotland’s deepest container terminal in late August.
It will lead to three sailings per month in each direction, calling at Ningbo, and the Chinese city of Shenzhen, before arriving in Greenock via its “sister” container terminal at the Port of Liverpool.
Jim McSporran, clydeport director at Peel Ports, said: “It will be a really proud moment when we welcome the first direct container service connecting China and Scotland to Greenock Ocean Terminal.
“It’s a real vote of confidence that we have been chosen for this connection, which will improve the service for our customers.
“These direct services will reduce transit times and delays and prove to be a real boost to the wider supply chain.
“Greenock Ocean Terminal offers the flexibility to handle increased cargo volumes and we look forward to working with KC Liner Agencies, DKT Allseas and China Xpress on this momentous partnership.”