A RE-ARRANGEMENT of Chinese container and ro-ro carriers that will see Sinotrans Container Line [Sinolines] backed into a new grouping is unlikely to affect the line’s Australian service.

Since 2021 Sinolines has been part of China Merchants Energy Shipping, itself a Shanghai-listed subsidiary of the China Merchants Group (half owner of the port of Newcastle).

CMES has now decided to concentrate on dry bulk, gas and chemical sectors and will spin-off Sinolines, along with China Merchants RoRo Transportation [Guangzhou RoRo], in an agreement with Antong Holdings. Antong is parent of Quanzhou Ansheng Shipping and best-known – possibly only known – in Australia as the owner of Ren Jian containerships seen here on charter to MSC and Sea-Lead.

The Sinolines transfer does not represent a complete separation from China Merchants as, in conjunction with AVIC Trust, China Merchants Port Holdings restructured Antong in 2020 after it had been placed in administration in 2019.

Sinolines is a member of the CAT consortium operating weekly between China, Taiwan and Australia with fellow members Yang Ming, Evergreen, TS Lines, and Hapag-Lloyd. Sinolines currently provides the 5816 TEU Tian Shun He, chartered from Cosco SL.

Darren Dumbleton, MD of Leeward Group, parent of Sinolines’ Australian agent Quay Shipping, told DCN he expects the agreement between CMES and Antong to be finalised in a couple of weeks with no changes to service or representation.

“I think this is the third or fourth change in structure we have been through,” Mr Dumbleton said.

Guangzhou RoRo, which was established in 2019 as a joint venture between CMES and 30% shareholder and car builder Guangzhou Automobile, operates 22 ro-ros/PCTCs of which it owns nine. It has two more on order.