Saturday, November 19, 2011

What A Tangled Web These Freight Agents and Container Shipping Lines Weave

MOL Slough Off Their East European Agents
Shipping News Feature

JAPAN – EASTERN EUROPE – DENMARK – Etc.Etc. – A fairly standard press release this week from Japanese freight carrier Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) announced the container shipping line is about to ditch its liner agents in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary as part of its strategy to ‘grow closer to customers’. The box line says it will continue to work closely together with freight agents Multi Shipping during the transfer of operations to ensure a smooth transition. Jochen Veldmann, Executive Director Area for MOL Europe, says the company is establishing its own presence to increase its commitment to the fast-growing region of Eastern Europe, adding:

“MOL had enjoyed a strong relationship with the liner agency group Multi Shipping which will continue to provide agency services in these countries until the new organization is established. On the foundation laid by Multi-Shipping we will be even better positioned to respond to customer needs, further enhance the service and offer full network coverage in the region.”

A closer look at the two company’s arrangements however gives an insight into how complex the relationships are within the closed community of container operators and liner agencies. Multi Shipping in the Czech Republic (and presumably the other countries involved) is a subsidiary of the Multi Shipping Group headquartered in Denmark.

Dig a little deeper however and they in turn are owned by ZIM Denmark A/S who were naturally agents for – container line ZIM Israel Navigation Company which became ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd until the Danish company were taken over by German group Paul Günther which later amalgamated with the Scandinavian and Czech activities of Ultra Shipping which then became part of Swedish holding company USS !

So the bottom line is MOL will now be handling their own Eastern European affairs and they thanked Multi Shipping for being an excellent partner over the past years assuring customers the two will work closely together during the transfer of operations to ensure a smooth transition with responsibilities for the agency changing over on the 1st February 2012.