In response to strong demand for its Asia-Europe Express (AEX) service, China United Lines (CULines) will make it a more regular service from June, chartering three more Panamax ships.
Slots on the first AEX service were sold out, prompting CULines to arrange three more trips between March and May.
On 20 May, CULines said that from 5 June, AEX will be upgraded to a bi-weekly regular service, departing Shanghai and calling at Ningbo-Zhoushan, Xiamen, Yantian, Ho Chi Minh City, Rotterdam, Hamburg and Antwerp.
CULines has released its upcoming AEX schedule, showing the Ren Jian 17 will depart on 5 June; Ren Jian 15 will depart on 12 June; Demeter will depart on 16 June; Ren Jian 16 will depart on 20 June and Ren Jian 25 will depart on 4 July.
The Ren Jian-prefixed ships are all chartered from compatriot liner operator Quanzhou Ansheng Shipping while Demeter is chartered from German tonnage provider Peter Doehle Schiffahrts.
CULines first Asia-Europe trip was arranged in February in collaboration with Xstaff, a German-based purchasing train for European do-it-yourself and supermarket chains.
Complementing the upgraded AEX service, CULines will form a joint venture, CU Lines Europe GmbH, with Peter Doehle’s subsidiary liner agency service provider, Menzell Dohle, to offer logistical and agency support in Europe.
Primarily reliant on chartered ships, the state controlled CULines was a domestic Chinese liner operator before expanding into intra-Asia routes. The company entered the Asia-North Europe trade lane, tempted by the recent spike in freight rates.