Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba has a stake in new liner operator Transfar Shipping, which launched operations with China-US west coast sailings in August.
Singapore-registered Transfar started out as a freight forwarder, owned by Worldwide Logistics (Group), a Chinese 3PL founded in 2003, in which Zhejiang Cainiao Supply Chain Management Co, a unit of Alibaba logistics offshoot Cainiao, purchased a 10.33% stake in September last year.
Market observers told that, while retailers like Home Depot, Walmart, Ikea and Amazon have chartered ships after challenges in securing container shipping slots, vertical integration between shippers and shipping lines remained uncommon.
“Transfar is also carrying cargo from its other customers and Alibaba’s cargo only makes up part of its total volumes,” said Linerlytica analyst Tan Hua Joo.
“Retailers are using various means to secure cargo space, but there are only very limited instances where they have chartered their own ships,” he added.
In August, Transfar agreed to charter Zeaborn Ship Management’s 2007-built 2,824 teu Martinique (pictured above), for two to three months and the 2005-built 3,091 teu Minna from Peter Dohle, for five months, paying $150,000 a day for both.
Vessel-tracking data shows Martinique collected cargo in Shanghai, Qingdao and Yantian, before heading to Long Beach, with its arrival expected tomorrow.
In September, Transfar chartered Filia T from Lomar Shipping for three to four months, at a daily rate in excess of $100,000. Filia T and Minna are assigned to intra-Asia routes, the former carrying goods from Nansha to Jakarta International Container Terminal on 5 October before going on to Yantian port.