Ocean forwarder Höegh Autoliners has withdrawn from offering passenger vehicle transport services between Europe and China stating that rates to the country “are just not good enough to cover the investment to go there”.

A spokesperson for the company told Automotive Logistics News: “With vessels that already sail full in the trade to the Far East, it does not make sense for us to take off well paying cargo to take onboard cargo for China that will not cover the costs.

“We are of course following the development of the market closely and are ready to re-enter the service between Europe and China, should rate levels improve,” added the spokesperson.

The latest comments follow those made to Lloyds List by Trond Sjursen, Höegh Autoliner’s head of Region Europe, in which he said that while German carmakers were doing very well with exports to the country, Hoegh had “stepped out of the car transport trade to China”.

Höegh currently offers two sailings per month from Europe to the Far East and is the main provider for shipments of Daimler trucks to China, moving between 5,000 and 6,000 trucks per year between Antwerp and Hong Kong. The trucks are then moved overland to Shenzhen on mainland China.

Elsewhere the company is seeing an increase in trade to West Africa and has now structured all of its inbound deep sea trade routes to converge at Maputo, arranging what it describes as “a similar arrival window” to allow for transhipment with its newly established feeder service there.

“The West Africa feeder is using Maputo as the hub and will also be loading at Durban prior to proceeding to the regular discharge ports of Luanda, Lagos and Tema,” said the company in a statement.