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CU Lines on the ropes with chairman detained in China

CU Lines on the ropes with chairman detained in China
Sam Chambers August 1, 2023

The grand plans for China United Lines (CU Lines) lie in tatters, the company becoming a victim of the collapse in box freight rates over the last year.

The company was one of the fastest growing new names in liner shipping to emerge this decade but over the past 12 months it has withdrawn a great deal from the global stage, while its chairman and CEO was detained last month for undisclosed reasons and has not been seen since.

According to data from Linerlytica CU Lines has recently withdrawn its last two ships on the Asia-Mediterranean and Asia-US west coast routes. Its fleet has shrunk by two-thirds over the past 12 months to just 30,700 teu. CU Lines also has six ships on order totalling 24,200 teu with Linerlytica analysts suggesting two of these newbuilds – a pair of 7,000 teu units – are up for sale.

The company ditched plans for an initial public offering earlier this year. It was also hit with a $67m penalty last December when it terminated the charters of 12 vessels early.