Newcomer Ellerman City Liners is pulling its last vessels out of the Asia-Europe trade.

The UK-based liner shipping division of freight forwarder Uniserve is transferring its chartered container fleet to the more profitable transatlantic trade.

The redeployment was signalled in December with the launch of a service from northern Europe to the US East Coast.

Unlike the transpacific and Asia-Europe trade, freight rates on the transatlantic remain at elevated levels.

Ellerman is upgrading its US Express service from a fortnightly to a weekly service, Alphaliner said, with the injection of three vessels operating between Asia and Europe, including the 2,872-teu Windswept (built 2010), which is on charter to Ellerman for three years at around $47,000 per day.

In the coming weeks, the 2,450-teu Buxhansa (built 1998) and 2,750-teu Cape Hellas (built 2021) are expected to join Ellerman’s transatlantic service, which currently operates using the 5,060-teu SC Mara and 3,534-teu Mona Lisa (both built 2006).

Ellerman was one of a handful of new operators that took advantage of the container boom last year to operate their own liner services.

But it appears to have found it difficult to compete against the larger vessels operated by established operators as rates have normalised.

Ellerman is also committed to charters of two container ship newbuildings that Germany’s Elbdeich Reederei has under construction at Penglai Zhongbai Jinglu Ship Industry in China.

They are expected to be delivered in 2023 and 2024.