The Allseas Pioneer is 2,000 teu

Freight forwarder Allseas Global caught the eye during the height of the pandemic disruptions with its shipping service out of China to the UK and today the company the launch of a shipping line of its own, following $150m in investment.

Allseas Shipping Company (ASC), a joint-venture between Allseas Global and First Containers, was formally launched at the Multimodal show in Birmingham, because, says the forwarder, it wants to maintain its independence.

“When we launched this, it came under the banner of the China Express, which was more of a route than a shipping line,” explained Allseas Global MD Darren Wright. “We needed to give it a name because we’re not just doing China anymore, we’re doing Bangladesh, we’re doing the transpacific into the west coast from China and Vietnam.”

The forwarder operates six chartered vessels on the Asia to Europe trade, calling at Ningbo, Chittagong and Liverpool, which the company hopes to turn into a weekly service with the charter of two more vessels.

Another two ships operate a bi-monthly service on the Pacific, which ASL also hopes to improve with a slot charter agreement with Swire Shipping.

Mr Wright told The Loadstar: “With charter rates as they are, we could have bought those [chartered] ships five times over.”

So is ASL looking to build ships? “It’s on the cards,” he admitted.

Any ships the carrier buys will be in the 2,500 teu range, feeder size, with the ethos of the line to maintain schedules and call at niche ports that are less congested. Mr Wright added that, to a large extent, the network was directed by Allseas Global’s customers.

“We are looking to offer a niche product,” he said. “If we have a customer that wants to call at Valencia, we will take a look at it and see if we can make the cargo and freight rates work. We are a nimble company, that can be flexible.”

With that in mind, he said, the newly formed company, registered in the UK, is looking at services to and from ports in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and Thailand, as well as connecting smaller hubs in Europe and the US.

Mr Wright says the firm has all-round experience, with the forwarding business offering freight its agency business, DKT, dealing with the ports, and First Containers as an equipment dealer supplying containers. Allseas now owns more than 20,000 of its own units.

“We started this service because we are a freight forwarder; we had customers that couldn’t get cargo onto vessels and they were paying through the nose with a pretty shitty service to go with it,” claimed Mr Wright.

The company has a flat management structure, and that, said the MD, meant it could make rapid decisions, such as deciding to call at Bangladesh after a four-week conversation, or even starting the China Express service within five to six weeks of first discussions.

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