K-LINE PLANS TO EXPAND EUROPEAN OPERATIONS

K-LINE PLANS TO EXPAND EUROPEAN OPERATIONS

The Japanese shipping line Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. plans to expand its European ship feeder and intra-European shipping services.

The company, known as K-Line, is linking up with Gruppo Tripcovich, Trieste AS of Italy to operate two new services between Scandinavia, Northern Europe and the Iberian peninsula.K-Line intends to accept shipments bound for other European destinations as well as transshipment cargoes for its Europe/Far East services.

With European roads congested and railways not providing good freight services, there is now a growing demand for shipping services within Europe, Alec Crawford, managing director of K-Line (Europe) Ltd., said Tuesday.

All three major Japanese liner shipping companies have been increasing their presence in Europe.

NYK Line (Europe) Ltd., a subsidiary of Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, is setting up a network of inland distribution depots as well as providing forwarding and distribution services in Europe. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. also has expanded its European logistics services and recently inaugurated a new feeder service between the United Kingdom and Rotterdam.

European liner shipping companies have mixed views about the competitive threat of the Japanese lines.

While Nedlloyd Lines managing director Remi Speld doubts if Japanese lines will become major players in the intra-European transport market and will mostly confine their activities to serving their traditional Japanese customers, others are not so sure.

"We could have a battle on our hands" with the Japanese, a senior executive at another European line warned.

K-Line and the Gruppo Tripcovich subsidiary RMS Hamburg will be operating two new services, one involving Felixstowe, Rotterdam, Le Havre and ports in Spain and Portugal, and another sailing north from Felixstowe to northern Germany and Scandinavia.

K-Line's existing feeder service that sails in the opposite direction between Felixstowe and north European ports will remain.

The two new rotations, deploying ships from 200 to 400 20-foot container capacity, will begin in May.