GEODIS has recently announced that it has chartered several 1000-TEU multipurpose ships for a monthly service between Shanghai and Hamburg.

The first sailing on the service will depart Shanghai (Taicang Suzhou Modern Terminal) 27 August, with an ETA at Hamburg of 2 October. The service will run monthly, with the 9 February departure the last.

DCN understands that this isn’t the first time the company has chartered ships to meet demand for container freight. Geodis has previously chartered ships on an ad hoc basis, but this is the first time the company has chartered vessels for a regular service.

Geodis senior vice-president global ocean freight Matthias Hansen told DCN the company’s customers have been facing a range of business challenges to their supply-chain management capacity – especially for shipments out of Asia. These challenges, he said, stem from the ongoing disruption in the logistics market, which has mainly resulted from blank sailings, capacity constraints and equipment shortages around the world.

“All market indicators show that the situation will remain challenging at least until the next Chinese New Year [starting on 1 February 2022],” he said.

“To ease the pain of our customers in overcoming their logistical constraints, we have chartered several multipurpose vessels from Shanghai to Hamburg offering additional freight capacity on that Far East Westbound (FEWB) trade lane.”

Mr Hansen said the charters are intended to help solve the current problems of Geodis’ customers.

“We do not want to become a shipping company,” he said.

“We are overcoming logistical constraints by finding solutions such as this supplemental service, utilising our experience and know-how in chartering break-bulk vessels. We are very satisfied to see that this initiative has been well-received by our customers who were impressed with our positive response to their requirements.”

Mr Hansen said Geodis partners with various ship owners, including UHL, with which the company has experience via its project logistics division.

“We work closely with our break-bulk core carriers to establish this regular Shanghai to Hamburg service. The vessel capacity is typically around 1000 TEU; an appropriate size to satisfy our additional demand,” he said.

While the company is not planning to continue the service beyond Chinese New Year 2022, Mr Hansen said Geodis is continuously investigating ways to meet its customers’ needs when the usual modes are unable to meet the necessary demand.

“So far, we have only implemented such a service out of Asia, but our organisation is very experienced in swiftly adopting alternatives across various trade lanes when our customers are in need, and the solution is commercially viable,” he said.