Gold Star Line turns 61

In his interview since becoming managing director at the containerline, Danny Hoffman discusses with Maritime CEO key issues affecting intra-Asia trades as well as how his line is expanding to new territories.

"Intra-Asia trade will continue to grow both for reefer and freight and I believe that upward trend will continue but in a modest way," Hoffman says.

"We are also planning to expand our activity in diversification of GSL , meanwhile this year we launched a new Japan service which is an extension of our expansion plans in the Intra Asia ," Hoffman says. This year Indian Sub Continent makret which is a backbone of GSL having serious capacity issues and we are also working out options of adjusting our policies in this market to bring more cost efficiency ."

 

Gold Star Line is operating 31 Services now , with yearly volume of 1Million TEUS .

"Our fleet on the Intra-Asia routes is changing with more sophisticated vessels being deployed," Hoffman says, adding: "I believe that due to port congestion and geographical obstacles like shallow draft, the fleet will move to a wide-beam design for those ports, like Bangkok and Chittagong require the maximum sized wide beamed vessels or other regular B-1700 vessels will continue to dominate but will be improved."

Unlike other sectors of container shipping, Hoffman believes there’s little room for consolidation among intra-Asia operators – cooperation is the name of the game in this particular niche.

"I believe that more cooperation in this region will be the way forward. I don’t see so many options for consolidation," he says.

Examples include Vietnam’s Cai Map where larger vessels can be accommodated but the cost for a smaller vessel to have its cargo barged up to the ICD in the city is prohibitive.

The situation is reversed at Bangkok where the terminal is extremely narrow leaving larger vessels with Laem Chabang as the only option when most shippers want deliveries direct into the Thai capital.

Gold Star Line, with its inherent flexibility, when it comes to using specialized vessels, has done particular well with its services that call at Chittagong from Port Kelang and Colombo. Gold Star Line has a 15% share of the cargo calling at the Indian port, much of it down to the use of a wide beam vessel that affords the delivery of an additional 500 teu at a port that is short on length.

Again in India, shallow draft, broad beamed vessels have enabled Gold Star Line to work the shallow draft at Calcutta to its advantage.

A combination of past success of its business model and the growth of emerging nations has provided the push for expansion of services at Gold Star Line. Already on line for this year is a project partnership with Cosco in West Africa with a possible move into South Africa. New North China/South East Asia services using 2,500 teu vessels are also on hand.

Other destinations now firmly in the sights of Gold Star Line include the Philippines and Australia. More ambitious still is a plan to break into Indonesia’s inter-island trade where the company’s vessel flexibility could see it take the lead in an underexploited territory.

Looking toward the rest of 2018 and beyond Mr Hoffman is confident that cargo volumes will be plentiful. “But we will have to be even more efficient both in vessel deployment and in reducing the number of idle containers, if we are to retain our edge.”

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