Cu Lines is ordering more new buildings as it expands its overseas services using existing ships such as the Far East Grace, above. Credit Alfred Chang.
China United Lines (CU Lines) continued to push into overseas markets, launching services to Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Japan this month.
The Chinese state-controlled liner operator, which had been primarily transporting containers domestically, launched an Asia-Europe service on 6 February, lured by rising rates in the trade.
In December 2020, CU Lines began laying the foundation for its foray into the Japanese and South Korean markets after signing on Ben Line Agencies’ branches in the two countries.
On 5, 6 and 12 April, CU Lines will launch three services between Japan, Taiwan and Southeast Asia, using vessels chartered from CMA CGM’s intra-Asia unit, Cheng Lie Navigation (CNC Line).
The JTX service lane will be Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe, Keelung, Taichung, Kaohsiung and Hong Kong.
Another service, JPX, will transport containers between Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kobe, Singapore and Port Klang. And the JTVS service will connect Tokyo with Yokohama, Nagoya, Nansha, Shekou, Laem Chabang, Ho Chi Minh and Kaohsiung.
On 7 March, CU Lines launched a South China – Thailand (SCT) service, using two chartered ships, the 1,221TEU AS Flora and the 1,078TEU Sentosa Trade. The service calls at Hong Kong, Nansha, Shekou, Laem Chabang, Bangkok, Laem Chabang and Hong Kong and COSCO Shipping Lines and CNC Line purchase slots on SCT.
SCT was launched a day after CU Lines and Ningbo Ocean Shipping Company (NBOSCO) began their weekly China Vietnam Express 2 (CVX2) service, connecting Ningbo, Shekou and Ho Chi Minh.
Of the ships assigned to SCT, the 1,060TEU Padian 2 is chartered by CU Lines, while the 1,024TEU Xin Ming Zhou 18 is NBOSCO’s owned ship.
NBOSCO had concentrated on its services within China and East Asia, but assigning its owned ship to CVX2 will improve its coverage of Vietnam.
In line with its expanded services, CU Lines has exercised options for two more 1,900TEU ships at Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding, after initially ordering two vessels in January.