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Just three months after its launch, Australian start-up Focus Container Line has entered administration as the post-pandemic boom in containerised shipping continues to reverse.
Focus’s service connected China’s second-busiest container port, Ningbo, with Australia and New Zealand but has become the latest victim of plunging cargo volumes and freight rates, leaving containers in limbo.
Brendon McQueen was Focus’s largest shareholder, with an 80% stake, while Australian forwarder Dynamic Shipping and Gregory Lawson each held 10%.
A notice filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission says Focus has been placed under creditors’ voluntary winding-up.
Focus operated two chartered vessels, the 1,497 teu multipurpose BBC Denmark and 1,756 teu San Giorgio. According to Linerlytica, Focus chartered BBC Denmark for six to eight months at $28,500 a day and San Giorgio for three to four months at $23,000 daily.
San Giorgio was to have been redelivered to its Greek owner, Eastern Mediterranean Maritime, this month, after which Focus planned to operate BBC Denmark alone.
Vessel-tracking data shows San Giorgio departed Brisbane on 6 February and is due to arrive in Hong Kong on Wednesday. BBC Denmark departed Auckland on 11 February and is due to arrive in Gladstone, Australia, on Thursday.
United Rentals Australia is understood to have leased 3,000 branded containers to Focus, most of which are sitting in Australian depots.
Since freight rates reverted to the low pre-Covid-19 levels, several newcomers to the long-haul trade have quit or made a partial retreat, including TS Lines, SeaLead Shipping and China United Lines. Apart from Focus, there has only been one corporate failure: Allseas Global Project Logistics entered administration on 27 October.
Vespucci Maritime CEO Lars Jensen said: “Essentially, this is another sign of market normalisation.”
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