For Eastern Car Liner (Americas), Ro/Ro’s offer an opportunity to transport somewhat unusual rolling stock cargo from North America to Asia: Used trucks, used heavy machinery and even used RVs.
This business helps solve one of the vexing issues of the vehicle transport trade: What to do about Ro/Ro’s and PCTCs that carry cars from Japan to the US, but must return to Asia.
According to Bill Christ, Eastern Car Liner (Americas) executive vice president and COO, his company often ships its cargo via World Logistics Service (USA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Nissan Motor Car Carrier. These Ro/Ro’s carry Nissan cars from Yokohama and dock at Los Angeles, Tacoma and Vancouver, B.C., before sailing back to Yokohama. In Yokohama, Christ said, the Westbound cargo is trans-loaded into an Eastern Car Liner ship, either Ro/Ro or breakbulk. These ECL ships are bound for such destinations as Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia. The ECL ships also dock in Vladivostok, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong and various ports in China.
“It’s a very good transshipment arrangement,” said Christ.
World Logistics and MOL now offer a sales and marketing arrangement on westbound Ro/Ro’s. “It increases the frequency and availability,” Christ said.
These ships supplement ECL’s own break bulk carriers, which sail once a month eastbound and westbound to the US.
The market in Southeast Asia for used trucks and heavy machinery is booming, particularly in Vietnam and Myanmar, and ECL has been able to capture a goodly share of this transport business. Used excavators, bulldozers, loaders, 18-wheelers, and the like are all being shipped by traders from the US. (Equipment and truck manufacturers have their own transport system for new products.)
Used RVs are in demand as well in China. Sound strange? Maybe not.
“The [RV] market is erupting like a volcano,” Wang Xudong, the deputy secretary of the China RV and Camping Association, told the New York Times a few years back.