Sinotrans, China's leading company for overland container transportation, is dropping out of the China/Europe service by the end of this year. The surprise move will mean job losses for dozens of staff in northern Europe who work in Sinotrans agencies and third-party port operation businesses.
Sinotrans is a vessel-sharing partner on the China/Europe Express service with South Korea's Hanjin Shipping. The line provides three 4,000 teu ships chartered from German owners on an eight-ship service.
In October 2001, Sinotrans opened its own agency office in Rotterdam, while its European head office is located in Hamburg. In the UK, Cory Bros operates as a thirdparty agency network overseeing sales and marketing responsibilities. Many of the staff at the Felixstowe office are expected to lose their jobs.
Sinotrans officials would not say why the company had decided to leave a container trade that was regarded as one of its most stable. One senior source would only say: "We want to concentrate on services and trades that can be handled easier from a central location."
Earlier this year, Sinotrans launched its own trans-Pacific service with chartered ships, replacing a vessel-sharing agreement with Hanjin of similar standing to that of the China/Europe Express. A little over a year ago, the company set up its own regional office in Long Beach, California, replacing third-party agency work.