Pandemic-Era Container Line Startup Files for Liquidation

The maiden voyage of Kalypso Navigazione's first ship, 2021 (Rif Line)
The maiden voyage of Kalypso Compagnia di Navigazione's first ship, 2021 (Rif Line)

Published Dec 27, 2023 9:42 PM by The Maritime Executive

Italian startup container line Kalypso has decided to file for bankruptcy procedures, according to local media, following a collapse in freight rates and the disruption of its services to Israel. 

The freight forwarder Rif Line launched Kalypso in mid-2021 in response to the late pandemic era's soaring freight rates. Initially it chartered ships for direct runs from Asia to Italy, then added a transatlantic service to New York in late 2022. 

The latter route was the first to go. Like many other upstart container lines, Kalypso abandoned its Europe-U.S. East Coast service in early 2023 because of weak demand and plummeting, uneconomic freight rates. 

Kalypso was also hit by disruption of its Asia-Med service en route to the port of Ashdod, Israel. Ashdod is open, but the owner of Kalypso's chartered-in tonnage refused to allow port calls due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Two Chinese-owned boxships were affected, Kalypso confirmed to Shipping Italy in November. The carrier initiated a legal claim, but the shipowner refused to budge, even though other international container lines (including other Chinese state enterprises) have continued to call at Israeli ports.  

Kalypso is in financial trouble, the outlet reports: one of its ships has been arrested at Taranto, Italy for unpaid bunker bills, and other creditors are lining up for repayment. A consultancy has been appointed to administer the process of negotiating an orderly resolution.