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Ocean Freight

A liner trade is one which operates according to a regular trade, defined route and against a published sailing schedule.  Apart from the odd conventional shipping service or the multi-purposed roll on/roll off carriers that carry project cargoes on wheels or on ships’ trailers or Mafis to deep-sea destinations, the ocean business has progressively moved containerisation to the point where it has become the mainstay.  True containerisation was first developed in the mid-1950s by US companies like Sea-Land Service and Matson Navigation Co, with the prime aim of moving highway units as standard trailers minus their chassis and road wheels on specially configured cellular ships.
With the advent in the mid-1960s, purpose-built containerships came into being and by the early 1970s had spread to most trades, with European lines taking up the idea through special entities such as Overseas Containers Ltd (OCL) – now superseded by P & O Nedlloyd.  Shipping lines have continued to amalgamate, notably Neptune Orient Lines and American President Lines, P & O containers and Nedlloyd and most recently, the mighty Sea-Land Maersk.  Today’s trade is influenced by the cardinal role of global alliances of shipping lines, many of which operate on the three key routes, consortia of lines operate in order to share vessels, cut costs and achieve economies of scale necessary to maintain frequency, which is now based on an expectation of at least fixed-day weekly.
As the ships employed by the major consortia increased in size, so ports have found themselves on a constant investment round in order to keep infrastructure up to date.  In order to maintain schedules for these large vessels it has been necessary to rationalise the number of ports.  Consequently the role of feeder or relay services between ‘mother’ ship and other off-line ports of call is significant.  Today, a typical Europe-Far East service will offer perhaps no more than four European ports per rotation from a selection that is likely to include Bremerhaven or Hamburg, Rotterdam or Antwerp, one UK port and a French port.  The synchronised feeder services from Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia and the Baltic States, as well as the lower reaches of the Rhine, are now essential.
Please contact us for a free no obligation quotation for any ocean shipping services, Tel: 0844 272 6731.


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