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China-based intra-Asia carrier Asean Seas Line (ASL) continues to emulate its peers in expanding into mid-haul routes, with the introduction of an Australian service.
On 25 September, ASL will launch a twice-monthly China-Australia service, ACX, calling at Qingdao, Shanghai, Shekou, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Qingdao.
The 1,800 teu ASL Hong Kong, newly delivered from Huanghai Shipbuilding, will kick off the service, while another newbuild, 1,930 teu ASL Bauhinia, to be delivered from CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding, will join ACX on 14 October.
Demand for container shipments of consumer goods from China to Australia, particularly Brisbane and Melbourne is growing, and will increase significantly nearer Christmas. This is ASL’s first China-Australia service, and it will not cannibalise the company’s existing services.
Australian freight forwarder Whale Logistics stated that the spike in demand began in late 2020 and has created a massive imbalance, resulting in freight rates reaching in excess of $4,000/teu and liner operators requiring bookings to be made at least 14 days in advance.
TS Lines, a Taiwanese intra-Asia carrier, also started a China-Australia service in March, in partnership with Yang Ming Marine Transport and Pacific International Lines to start the CA2 China-Australia service.
While it is ASL’s first service connection to Australia, it is not the company’s first venture beyond its traditional East Asia and Southeast Asia markets.
In February, ASL began buying slots on X-press Feeders’ China-UAE service’s Shanghai – Jebel Ali port pair. Established in 2011, ASL currently operates a fleet of 12 ships with sizes ranging from 580 to 1,100 teu, making it the 67TH ranked liner operator.