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Taking the initiative

The container ship Laila shortly before departure in the port of Yantian

XSTAFF charters space on container ship for Asia–Europe transport

Düsseldorf, February 10, 2021 – The Düsseldorf-based company XSTAFF GmbH, in partnership with CULines, has chartered the container ship Laila in order to offer their clients an alternative to the existing services on the Asia–Europe route. The 2700-TEU ship left Yantian on 8 February 2021 and is, after a short stopover in Rotterdam, expected to arrive in Hamburg at the beginning of March.

Extremely high cargo rates, limited container availability and frequent delays – retail and industrial cargo owners are currently facing enormous challenges when shipping goods from Asia to Europe. Container spots on freighters headed to Europe are booked out weeks in advance – and that despite price rises of up to 800 percent compared to the same time last year. A difficult situation for shipping agents, but also for XSTAFF GmbH, which, as an international purchasing association, has been successfully representing its members in negotiations with shipping companies for many years. In light of unexpected and exceptional growth in volumes in areas such as medical relief aid, it became necessary to explore new avenues in the interest of our clientele. “Our members need planning security, a contractually secured cost framework, and reliability in the service provision. In view of the compelling market situation, we decided to take matters into our own hands and offer our own transport capacities,” explains Bodo Knop, Chairman of XSTAFF GmbH.

Next charter voyage already being planned

XSTAFF and CULines have clearly hit the mark with their new service offering, as demonstrated by the strong interest from cargo owners. The container spots on the Laila (which was built in 2008) were all allocated in just a few days. On its voyage to Hamburg, the ship transports non-food products destined predominantly for European DIY and supermarket chains.  Despite the high charter costs, the spot rates for shipping agents are still in the lower range.

The primary goal for this project is the frictionless transport of goods to Europe, the easing of pressure on the export industry and doing our bit to help improve the trade environment for both exporters and importers. That aim, not margins, was given priority in the planning phase, the charter was planned as a one-off initiative, due to strong demand, however, preparations are already underway for a second voyage in the first half of 2021 if the shipping environment has not improved.


XSTAFF GmbH was formed in October 2016 by the firms COOP Schweiz and the Belgian Colruyt Group as a central point of contact and coordination for a new international purchasing network. The company represents the interests of its clients by bundling the contractually guaranteed transport volumes of the network partners, conducting negotiations with shipping companies on their behalf and helping the members of the network to realize their supply chains. The organization comprises over 50 network service providers in Europe and Asia and operates three joint ventures: Cross Staff Asia Pacific Limited (Hongkong), Cross X Staff Logistics Procurement Consultant Iberia S.L. (Barcelona), and Cross X Staff Italy Srl. XSTAFF also has a location in Katowice, Poland.

Media Contact

Bodo Knop
Chairman of the Board
Sternstraße 5
D 40479 Düsseldorf

Phone: +49 (0)211 542531-11
Fax: +49 (0)211542531-33