China United Lines have introduced a new Red Sea Service (REX) to connect China and Jeddah amidst the on-going Red Sea crisis that has seen a reduction in the number of ships able to serve the Red Sea region. The REX service calls at Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Nansha, Jeddah, Qingdao with a single 2,786 teu ship (CUL MANILA) deployed since 28 December 2023. The service turns in around 30 to 35 days on a monthly frequency.
The Vietnam Gulf India/RCL Gulf Asean/Vietnam Gulf Express/Saigon Gulf Service (VGI/RGA/VGX/SGS) service jointly operated by ESL, KMTC, RCL, CU Lines and Global Feeder Shipping will be upgraded from the 2,500 teu scale to 5,500 teu starting from September 2023, with CMA CGM joining as the 6th partner in the service who brands it as the Vietnam Gulf India (VGI) service. The service was first launched in January 2022 using up to 5 ships of 2,000-2,700 teu and called initially at Ho Chi Minh City,
CU Lines’ global expansion plans have been derailed with the withdrawal of its last 2 ships on the Asia-Med and Asia-USWC routes. CUL’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) bid first launched in January 2022 has already been withdrawn, and its goal of operating a fleet of 45 ships for 160,000 teu by 2025 will not be achieved with its current operated fleet shrinking by 67% from its peak in 2022 to just 30,700 teu currently. CUL has a remaining orderbook of 6 ships with a total capacity of 24,200 teu in