FRENCH-BASED global transport and logistics provider Geodis is the latest forwarder to charter capacity out of China amid continuing "chaos" for Asia-Europe container shippers.
The forwarder has chartered a 1,000 TEU vessel for a direct sailing from Shanghai to Hamburg, departing January 20.
"We understand the challenges and work hard to support unprecedented customer demand against challenging market conditions," Geodis said. "Hence, a vessel is chartered to supplement fixed long term agreements with core carriers and to deliver certainty amid chaos."
Geodis' move follows DSV's announcement last month it was taking the "extraordinary" step of chartering three multipurpose vessels in December from Shanghai to the Danish port of Aarhus.
DSV said it was a one-off deal to beat the Asia-Europe capacity crunch that had left customers "in dire need" of capacity.
Matthias Hansen, senior vp for global ocean freight at Geodis, said the forwarder's chartered vessel would carry 460 FEU containers, reports The Loadstar, UK.
"We started to work some time ago to secure the equipment to ensure that the containers would be available when we needed them, and offer this solution to all our customers who need to move cargo from Asia to Europe," explained Mr Hansen.
For Europe's importers, there's been no let up to the non-stop freight rate escalation that capped-off the end of 2020. The Loadstar reported last week how major forwarders were engaged in "bidding wars" in China to secure equipment and space to North Europe, with successful all-in bids reaching a "minimum" of US$16,000 per 40ft H/C.
However, whether the small crop of forwarders dipping their toes into the charter market can secure a cheaper rate per box remains to be seen. Securing a vessel in a "booming" charter market won't be cheap - Alphaliner's charter index was up 46 per cent year on year last month.
Mr Hansen added: "Geodis is permanently looking for solutions and complimentary ocean and air products. The current freight level on the Far East westbound trade supports these charter investments."