Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, Kolkata (SMPK), on Monday, announced the launch of direct container vessel service from Shanghai, China.

Additionally, SMPK introduced a direct weekly express service linking Port Klang in Malaysia, and Yangon Port in Myanmar, officials said.

Currently, cargo movement between China, and Kolkata ports involves transit hubs like Singapore.

However, the new service commenced with the successful berthing of vessel SITC Nagoya at Haldia International Container Terminal on June 6, arriving directly from Shanghai, according to port chairman Rathendra Raman.

The second vessel in this pioneering loop service, SITC Tianjin, is scheduled to call at Haldia Dock Complex from China, around June 12.

Raman emphasised that the port aims to enhance efficiency through direct services, resulting in significant logistics cost savings for its customers.

"The cost of shipment will be cheaper by about 35 per cent for cargo, from Far East countries to SMP Kolkata, compared to the traditional route, encouraging regular trade between India, Malaysia, Myanmar, China, and Japan," he said.

The service is operated by J M Baxi Ports and Logistics. The port rotation for this service will be Port Klang-Haldia Dock Complex-Yangon Port-Port Klang/Shanghai, creating a seamless connection between the Far East ports, including China, Japan, and Kolkata.

Officials highlighted that shippers in West Bengal, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, the North East, Nepal, and Bhutan will benefit from this new service.