Direct container shipping service connecting China and Scotland is being launched for the first time.

The new freight route between Chinese ports and Greenock Ocean Terminal is a partnership between KC Liner Agencies, DKT Allseas and China Xpress.

KC Liner said the direct sailings would almost halve transit times, compared with services via continental Europe or other southern UK ports.

It added the move was in response to growing global supply chain pressures.

The maiden China Xpress voyage from Ningbo is scheduled to berth at Scotland’s deepest container terminal in late August.

It will lead to three sailings per month in each direction.

The new service aims to cut the journey time from about 60 days to an estimated 33 by eliminating unscheduled port congestion delays in Rotterdam.

Exports from Scotland will include beer, whisky, confectionery, gin, paper, shortbread, water and machinery, while imports will include textiles, furniture, toys, fitness equipment and footwear.

Jim McSporran, of Greenock Ocean Terminal owner Peel Ports, said the move would benefit its customers.

He added: “These direct services will reduce transit times and delays and prove to be a real boost to the wider supply chain.”

KC Group Shipping said the route would provide an exporting boost for Scotland’s food and drink sector, including Scotch whisky.

Managing director David Milne said: “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

Courtesy and thanks BBC News