By Fotini Tseroni
June 1, 2022
Containership Amo makes headway on the first direct service between Bangladesh and Europe
Terminal congestion and delays, as well container logistics challenges has left the industry looking for alternative measures to satisfy their clients’ shipping requirements.
At the end of last year business publication Quartz reported that certain commodities such as rice, sugar, coffee, cotton and cocoa, which are typically transported in containers, were increasingly being in shipped in bulk carriers or breakbulk cargo ships.
Another trend to emerge over recent months is a series of new direct containership services, introduced to circumvent long delays at transshipment ports.
According to reports, Swire Shipping has introduced two vessels - one of 2,400 teu and the other 2,700 teu - on a new direct service between Vietnam and the US. The two vessels are small enough to sail up the Saigon River and call at Cat Lai - usually used for intra-Asia and feeder services, with larger deepsea vessels calling at Cai Mep. Their destination is Seattle, “where it has secured priority berthing,” reported the publication.
Meanwhile, MSC started a new weekly service at the end of March between the Swedish port of Gothenburg and Philadelphia and Norfolk in the USA. The 5,083-teu MSC Cornelia has been assigned to the loop, and Maritime Executive reported the vessel was scheduled to leave the port of Gothenburg on 31 March and reach New York 11 days later. “The loop will then continue through Philadelphia and Norfolk, after which the vessel will return to Scandinavia and the Baltics with American goods,” it reported.
MarineTraffic ship tracking data shows that the vessel departed Philadelphia on 3 June, made its way through Chesapeake Bay and is now heading across the North Atlantic Ocean back to Sweden.
Cornelia heads back to Gothenburg
Looking further east, two shipping companies have introduced direct lines from Bangladesh, central to the garment and textile industry, to Europe in recent months. UK-based logistics company Allseas Global Logistics has connected Liverpool, UK, Rotterdam, Netherlands with Chattogram, Bangladesh using three ships - Amo, BBC Finland and San Alfonso.
As MarineTraffic reported on Twitter, the 1,730-teu containership, Amo, set sail from Chattogram on 20 May taking cargo to its final port, Rotterdam.
Box ship Amo left Chattogram on 20 May
It is hoped that this direct service will cut out the lengthy stays currently seen in the region’s transhipment hubs such as Singapore and Sri Lanka and halve current shipping times from 40-45 days currently experienced to 20 days.
Capt Sayed Sohel Hasnat, chairman of Phoenix Shipping, Allseas Global Logistics’ local agent, told the Loadstar, that the Amo’s sailing “will be the first direct service to Rotterdam and meet a long-held demand of Bangladeshi exporters.
“The plan is to add two more vessels on this route, based on demand,” he said.
According to MarineTraffic Live Map the Mongolian-flagged Amo was at time of writing making its way across the Mediterranean Sea to Rotterdam after transiting the Suez Canal.
Amo was tracked transiting the Mediterranean Sea on 6 June
Earlier in the year another direct service was launched from Bangladesh to Europe, this time to Italy. On 2 February, the 1,118-teu Songa Cheetah began its first sailing from Chittogram to Ravenna, on a direct journey that takes 16 days.
The Loadstar reported at the time: “The direct service cuts costs between 30% and 40% and transit by a week or so,” said Mohammad Rashed, chairman of Relience Shipping and Logistics, the local agent of Rome-based RIF Line, which launched the service.
Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) has also heard of interest from Slovenia, Denmark and Portugal about the possibility of direct services. It seems that the allure of smaller vessels on a faster service is building as Bangladeshi and other markets look to get their goods to market in a timely fashion.