Storage firm Sumitomo Warehouse is selling its US-based vessel operator to Swire Shipping as part of a plan to focus on its core businesses.

Swire Shipping has agreed to buy Westwood Shipping Lines from Sumitomo Warehouse’s subsidiary J-WeSco for an undisclosed amount. J-WeSco bought Westwood in 2011 from Weyerhaeuser for around $53m (€50.2m).

Westwood, founded in 1980, specialises in the trade between the Pacific Northwest and Northeast Asia. It serves as a niche vessel operator serving the Japan, Korea, and China markets and ports in Washington state and British Columbia.

Jack Mahoney, the president and CEO of Westwood Shipping Lines, said Sumitomo Warehouse is divesting itself of Westwood as part of a corporate strategy to focus on its core businesses of warehousing, stevedoring, real estate, and logistics.

“We are excited about joining the Swire group because Westwood will now be a shipping company owned by a shipping company, one with a long history and wide Pacific presence.

“It will allow us to share synergies and tap new resources, expertise, and capabilities to serve our customers,” Mahoney said.

James Woodrow, Swire Shipping’s managing director, said the acquisition complements the firm’s growth strategy to widen its liner network while also vertically integrating many of its shipping services.

Swire Shipping provides several liner shipping services in the Asia Pacific markets. It connects 400 ports via a network of services in the Asia-Pacific and globally.

“Over the years, we have been looking at strengthening our presence around the region and Westwood, with its excellent safety standards, high-quality reputation, cargo handling abilities, and long-term customer relationships, emerged as a strong choice.

“We know that we will be building on Westwood’s sound business fundamentals, and we look forward to broadening our liner network,” Woodrow said.

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