Hong Kong based Gold Star Line, a subsidiary of ZIM, is one of the leading container service providers on the intra-Asia market. The company is on course to further expand its fleet and intends to remain focused on the intra-Asia market, but will look at Africa as a new source of business.
Gaby Sharf, managing director of the company, explains that as the region has the biggest volume of container trades, the firm intends to grow in tandem with the demands of the regional business.
“Intra-Asia trade is facing many challenges, and while we hope some tonnage rationalisation will happen, on our part we have introduced many improvements in all aspects of our services in order to cope with the many challenges of the industry,” Sharf says.
As for the Far East to India Sub-Continent trade, Sharf expects to see some moderate capacity increase. It is on this trade that the line deploys its largest ships and looking ahead it will add more calls to the east coast to compliment its already strong Indian west coast coverage.
Gold Star Line currently operates 20 boxships ranging from 700 teu to 5,000 teu, of which two are owned and the rest are chartered.
“Chartering vessels is preferable as it is associated with the market environment changes and gives operators the most flexibility. Most of our vessels are chartered. We find this to be quite efficient and effective. Our fleet deployment policy in the near future will be still some owned vessels, but mainly chartered,” Sharf explains.
“Our company’s job is to serve and support our clientele through constantly ensuring professionalism, competence and a high level of skill. No job or account is ever too big or too small for our company,” Sharf maintains.
Since it was first set up in Hong Kong in 1958, Gold Star has remained anchored in the former British colony and has no intention on moving its headquarters elsewhere.
Sharf believes that Hong Kong will continue to serve as a very important transhipment hub for the region of South China and even Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia for a long time to come.
The company is boosting its network, often by teaming up with other niche players.
For instance it has joined together with Xpress Feeders to launch the Asia Chennai Service (ACS). It also teamed up with TSL and Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) recently to launch a service covering China, South Korea and the Philippines.
The next big project for Gold Star is to get into the Africa market.
“We want to develop a relationship with the vast growing continent of Africa,” Sharf says.