Singapore: Containerline Orient Express Lines (OEL) is looking at entering the Indonesian and Philippine trades. The ceo of the firm, Biju Oommen, tells Maritime CEO in our regular Friday shipowner slot, “The Indonesia and Philippine trades are being studied carefully, as there are opportunities considering the growing container volumes.” Any entrance into these trades would be done as a joint service, he says, much like it did this April when it launched a new service to Vietnam with Taiwan’s Yang Ming.
Part of Transworld Group Singapore, OEL provides a network of container feeder services, through its fleet of owned and chartered container vessels, linking transhipment ports in Singapore and Malaysia with the Indian Sub-Continent.
OEL’s fleet stands at ten vessels at the moment, five owned and five on charter. “We are keen to acquire another 1,700 teu vessel this year, and thereafter study the market trends to formulate plans for the next year,” Oommen says.
The volumes on the Bangladesh and India routes continue to grow for OEL. However, with the port limitations, the line is not able to increase the size of the vessels, which would have helped reduce costs per teu.
Instead OEL is having to increase the number of vessels deployed, which could create berth congestion and in turn increased operating costs, Oommen says.
With the size of container vessels getting larger and larger, OEL is careful to avoid trade lanes where bigger ships can be deployed.
“We are careful to avoid deployments onto such trade lanes,” says Oommen, “as the capacity surge would create unhealthy competition for volumes, and push the freight rates below sustainable levels.” [11/07/14]