UK – US – Regular long distance Ro/Ro ocean freight services are one of those peculiar branches of the shipping world that tend to fill, what at first sight appear to be very small, niche market needs. In reality of course the UK has, almost imperceptibly, once again become a net exporter of cars* and light vans meaning, for what we often consider only container or bulk tanker companies, a lucrative method of spreading their freight portfolio a little wider and is a service which can also prove of use to those with particular general cargo requirements.
Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, or ‘K’ Line as it is universally known, is one such box carrier which also operates various other bespoke services and the Japanese group’s UK agency, Searoute, a Scottish based international liner agent that specialise in container and heavy lift shipping services, tells us that K Line are now operating a new Ro/Ro service out of Southampton to Galveston.
Sailings on the new service are twice monthly with a transit time of eleven days and the make-up of the big Ro/Ro carriers also make an ideal pan ocean platform for cargo transport, particularly out of gauge and heavy lift freight, much of which with Texas as a destination, can emanate from the oil and gas sector. Other ports of call for K Line include Veracruz, Jacksonville & Baltimore.
* In 2012 the UK shipped vehicles valued at over £6 billion around £560 million more than it imported. This was the first year exports exceeded imports in the sector since 1976.