MANCHESTER : Freight forwarder Allseas Global caught the eye during the height of the pandemic disruptions with its shipping service out of China to the UK. The company has announced that it has launched 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 . The company has launched the shipping line because 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 currently 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 to supplement those vessels.
Mr Wright said: “With the 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 that the carrier buys will be in the 2,500 teu range, the feeder sizes, with the ethos for the line to maintain schedules and to call at niche ports which are less congested. Mr Wright added that to a large extent, the network is directed by Allseas Global’s own customers.
“We are looking to offer a niche product,” said Mr Wright. “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,” he explained.
With that in mind the newly formed company, registered in the UK, is looking at services to and from ports in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines and Thailand as well as connecting smaller hubs in Europe and the US.
The company believes it has all-round experience, with the forwarding business offering the 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, that’s our day job, we had customers that couldn’t get cargo onto vessels, and they were paying through the nose and they had a pretty shitty service to go with it,” claimed Mr Wright.
The company has a flat management structure, and that, says the MD, means it can 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 the first discussions.