A SURPRISE new player is poised to enter the China-Australia trade, just as it returns to stability after years of COVID chaos and waterfront disruption.

According to overseas sources Dubai-based Emirates Shipping Line will join through an unspecified arrangement with Taiwan’s TS Lines, with which it has a long-standing relationship.   The 5605 TEU ESL Dachan Bay was briefly listed in the schedules of the CAT service, in the TSL vessel slot for mid-April in loval ports, but then disappeared. However, DCN understands this is likely only a temporary delay.

ESL is listed at position 25 in Alphaliner’s Top 100 container lines and currently offers fifteen mainline services covering Asia, the Indian Sub-Continent, Middle East, Red Sea and East Africa, as well as four feeder services in Japan, the Pearl River Delta, South East Asia and the Middle East.

The company was founded in 2006 by an Indian mariner, Vikas Khan and in 2010 German shipowner Peter Döhle became a one-third shareholder after undertaking a debt-for-equity swap when ESL was unable to pay charter hire for Döhle vessels.

Döhle concluded similar deals with Chile’s CSAV (now merged into Hapag-Lloyd), Taiwan’s TS Lines and Israel’s ZIM. On at least two occasions TS Lines chartered newbuildings ordered by Döhle and sublet them to ESL. Döhle provides all of the ESL-prefixed fleet of all-chartered ships, ranging from 1340 TEU to 6540 TEU.

The relationship between ESL and TSL would seem to be at the heart of the former’s arrival in Australia, which is believed to be on the basis of a slot-swap between TSL and ESL routes here and elsewhere.

ESL is headed up by CEO Till Ole Barrelet, previously MD at the CMA CGM Group’s intra-Asia subsidiary CNC Lines. TS Lines’ Australian agents Seaway declined to comment.