Chinese-Polish multipurpose and heavylift player Chipolbrok is not averse to cashing in on shortages of space on boxships in booming markets.
But the company says it will not neglect its core business and does not intend to be a "stop-gap" solution for the box sector.
Spokesman Olaf Proes told TradeWinds: "Yes, we can see a back-flow of cargo from box carriers to us."
Examples of cargoes it has carried in boxes include chemicals, raw materials and additives, he added.
Some of these goods have been transported on the chartered-in, 33,000-dwt Chipol Baoan (built 2009) or its own 30,000-dwt Qian Kun (built 2011).
Proes said that, only two years ago, Chipolbrok was competing for half-height containers loaded with marble blocks from Turkey, offering a rate of $1,900 per teu.
But it lost out to Mediterranean Shipping Co, which offered $900 per teu.
"We gave up because of ruinous price level," he said.
Prices more to Chipolbrok's liking
But now, Proes revealed that the 30,400-dwt Chipolbrok Sun (built 2004) recently carried 27,000 tonnes of stone from Turkey to Xiamen at "reasonable terms and conditions".
"The present shortage of slots is to our benefit and we have no objections to supply shippers space on our vessels if box carriers reject their cargo or request $7,000 for a 20-foot standard box! For us [it] is okay," Proes said.
"Whenever we have deck space available, we can offer that to special clients who also supported us in bad times. We have [a] good memory for that."
But the spokesman reiterated that Chipolbrok still likes to concentrate on what he described as its bread-and-butter business, instead of becoming a "stop-gap" for the "mega box carriers".
He pointed out that German owner Hapag-Lloyd has just ordered six 23,500-teu vessels, plus 13,000 boxes, in China.
"For sure, some of those [boxes] will be globally distributed and also appear at the desks of my commercial colleagues," Proes said. "We already carry boxes but we don't make noise about it."
He also revealed the company has just discharged 328 containers of 45 teu from the 30,500-dwt Leopold Staff (built 2005) at Hamburg and Rotterdam.
Proes said these were new boxes — "good looking" — with a "fresh odour" of new paint inside and out.
Chipolbrok, formally known as Chinese-Polish Joint Stock Shipping Co, was founded on 15 June 1951 by the governments of the two countries.
Formed with four ships, the fleet now numbers 23 units.