DKT Allseas Cargo, the ship agency arm of the Allseas Cargo group, is developing plans to launch a regular China-UK container shipping service.

While a number of forwarders have chartered vessels for single trips between Asia and Europe, in response the sharply diminished capacity on the route over the past few quarters, Allseas now has six sailings planned to run directly between the Chinese port of Ningbo and the UK gateway of Liverpool, and indicated this could develop into a regular liner service.

Two sailings have already departed China: the MV Ronnie (pictured above) which departed Shanghai on 25 April and is scheduled to arrive at Liverpool on 30 May; and the MV BBC Russia, which departed Ningbo on Tuesday and is scheduled to dock at Liverpool on 4 June.

A further four chartered multipurpose vessels, with container capacity ranging from 670 teu to 1,500 teu, are scheduled to depart Ningbo (with the BBC Volga scheduled for a 16 May departure) every nine days for Liverpool.

A lack of containerships in the charter market has forced potential charterers to look at multipurpose vessels (MPVs) that have container-carrying capacity, and as a result, charter rates for MPVs have been on the rise in recent months.

According to Drewry’s multipurpose time charter index, daily hire rates grew to $7,9992 a day last month and are expected to climb to $8,200 a day this month. This time a year ago, the daily hire rate was around $5,750.

Darren Wright, MD of Allseas Global Logistics said: “The early success of our China to Liverpool service, highlights the need of cargo owners for resilient, reliable and cost-effective supply chain solutions.

“Our first three sailings were sold out in short order, and we have now fixed an additional three sailings and looking to introduce further services over the next few months, working towards a longer-term frequent Far East service for our customers,” he added.

The Allseas service also resembles the “premium” container services some carriers have been operating on the transpacific trade, in that it focuses on a single port of loading and single port of discharge, which “offers a more robust solution, especially for time-sensitive goods”.

“As we mitigate the serious problems of port congestion, our aim is to fix longer-term vessel contracts and close the transit gap to give rail freight a run for its money, but at a much more cost-effective proposition,” added Mr Wright.

David Huck, MD of Liverpool owner Peel Ports, said: “The success of the Allseas services, shows there is demand for a direct China to Liverpool service.

“We’ve worked closely with Allseas over the past few months to provide a gateway from the Far East direct into the heart of the UK’s cargo-owning community. We’ve even been able to use our networks to introduce Allseas to new customers that have expressed a desire to switch cargo to direct call services to Liverpool, due to the reliability, resilience and cost benefits to their wider supply chain.

“While this service accommodates the smaller feeder-size vessels, our continued investment into our Liverpool2 deepwater container terminal also means we can handle some of the world’s largest vessels and facilitate deepsea routes, strengthening our position as a viable call for Far East trade,” he added.

Meanwhile, Splash247 today reports that DSV has chartered “an 1,800 teu vessel for one direct service in early June from China to North Europe, with one stop in Denmark and the other at an as-yet-not-decided second port”.

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