Abandoned Ship, Half Sunk

The Future of Shipping is NOT Coming with Budding Australian Container Line FOCUS as They Go into Liquidation

Stand by… The future of shipping is coming! A bold and embarrassing statement on the homepage of the short-lived Focus Container Line, which has become the latest new entrant into container shipping to run into financial difficulties.

Liquidators in Brisbane have been appointed to oversee the demise of the trans-Tasman liner, which launched a service connecting Ningbo in China with Australia and New Zealand only four months ago. A notice filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission says Focus has been placed under creditors’ voluntary winding-up.

Avanti Freight Management do not support infant Container Lines and we only work with well established shipping lines who we have contracted rates with. There is too much risk associated with supporting new container lines as the shipping industry has entered a slowdown after the pandemic, and marginal players are getting pushed to the side.

The business model for an aspiring new container line made sense in 2021-22, when capacity on established ocean carriers was tight and customers were willing to pay top dollar for expedited service. However, now that freight rates have dropped back to pre-pandemic levels the smaller container lines struggle to generate enough revenue to stay afloat. Afterall, why would you choose a new container line over a well-known, established line that you know is reliable enough to get your cargo from point A to B when the prices are similar? You just wouldn’t do it.

Brendon McQueen was Focus’s largest shareholder, with an 80% stake, while Australian forwarder Dynamic Shipping and Gregory Lawson each held 10%.

Its bankruptcy has left many containers stranded at ports in Australia and New Zealand. The company had two ships on charter and had leased 3,000 containers many of which are now stuck in limbo. The ships are the 1,497 teu multipurpose BBC Denmark and the 1,700 teu San Giorgio. According to Linerlytica, Focus chartered BBC Denmark for six to eight months at $28,500 a day and San Giorgio for three to four months at $23,000 daily.

Other fledgling container lines like Allseas Global Project Logistics, founded in early 2022, folded in October and now owes its creditors at least $70 million, according to The Loadstar. Asian carrier China United Lines (CU Lines), which decided last year to charter container ships and jump into the Asia-Europe trade, has announced early termination for 12 panamax boxships owned by Antong Holdings. 

AvantiFM will only use container lines which we have a long-standing relationship with to ensure our customers are taken care of to the best of our ability. As the containers from Focus are now stuck in limbo, we are not sure what happens from here but use this as a great reminder that you should always have Marine Insurance – it will protect you in many ways you probably have never thought about before.

Marine Insurance Infographic - We hope people woth Cargo on board Focus container line had Marine Insurance.