Bangalore: At least two more shipping firms, Zim Integrated Shipping Services (India) Pvt. Ltd and MISC Berhad, have issued notices to withdraw from a weekly direct service to Europe run by a group of such firms, as freight rates have fallen steeply, said an executive at the state-run Shipping Corp. of India Ltd (SCI) on condition of anonymity.
The service, called India Sub-continent Europe (ISE), linked Jawaharlal Nehru Port, the country’s busiest container harbour, with European cities such as Barcelona, Felixstowe, Rotterdam and Hamburg.
New course: A Zim Integrated carrier. The firm is among several shipping companies that have decided to stop services to Europe.
Zim and MISC, which contributed three ships to the ISE service, declined comment on the decision to withdraw. SCI will continue to run the ISE service along with K Line and Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp., said an executive at German container shipping firm Hapag-Lloyd AG.
On 9 December, Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd and United Arab Shipping Co. had shut their Asia Europe Container Service that connected Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Maharashtra and Pipavav Port in Gujarat with Europe. The cost of moving a standard cargo container from India to Europe has fallen almost 70% to $350 (Rs17,045) from some $1,050-1,100 in August. In the slowdown in 2001, freight rates to Europe had gone as low as $400 a standard container.
“Container shipping firms are losing money from operating ships due to the record low freight rates,” said the top executive at the Indian operations of a big European container shipping firm, requesting anonymity. “In such a situation, firms which do not have the capacity to sustain are leaving services.”