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CULines rides to Santa’s rescue with new UK service

Spotting another strain in the global supply chain, China’s most agile boxline has sprung a new festive-themed service.

With headlines proliferating in the UK about the potential for empty shop shelves in the run up to the festive season, China United Lines (CULines) has debuted a new China-Tilbury Christmas Express.

The first voyage, utilising the 1,740 teu A Daisen, departs Shanghai next Tuesday, calling at Ningbo and Yantian and then heading directly to Tilbury with a scheduled arrival date of November 25.

With other ports in the UK, notably key gateway Felixstowe, experiencing extreme congestion at present, CULines is touting Tilbury port, located near an Amazon warehouse, as a safer bet to get Christmas goods delivered in time this year.

CULines has expanded dramatically this year to offer speedy services on routes that have experienced supply chain dislocation with new services from China to the US, to Hamburg and India among 2021’s offerings.

Trying to temper the hysteria among many mainstream media outlets about a doomed Christmas, Lars Jensen, CEO of liner consultancy Vespucci Maritime, took to LinkedIn last week to ridicule much of the reporting.

“The current supply chain challenges appear to give rise to ever more overblown press headlines raising fears of a disastrous upcoming holiday season plagued by empty shelves,” Jensen wrote, adding: “We almost appear to be heading into a state similar to Eastern Europe during the cold war with massive lines outside stores to get the bare essentials if we are to believe the headlines.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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