Danish carrier Maersk Line has started services between Fuzhou and Xiamen in Fujian and third countries via Kaohsiung. The news comes amid reports that several shipping lines from Taiwan and China have suspended services between the two countries. According to a Singapore Business Times report, Richard Yu, special assistant to the president of Yang Ming Line, one of three Taiwanese carriers operating services from Kaohsiung, said: 'The prospects are very bleak because the cargo is so limited.' Three other carriers with approval by Beijing to operate from ports in southern China - Nantai Line, Chinese Maritime Transport and Kien Hung Shipping - have postponed the launch of services. Maersk said its service would use Kaohsiung as a relay port to other destinations such as the United States and Europe. With two weekly calls at both Fuzhou and Xiamen connecting to the main-haul services from Kaohsiung, Maersk is taking advantage of the lifting of the 48-year ban by Taiwan on direct shipping across the Taiwan Strait. A Maersk spokesman said the feeder service, which was operated by a sub-contractor using two vessels of 250 teu (20 ft equivalent units) and 360 teu, would connect to Maersk Line's global network in Kaohsiung. The rotation would be Fuzhou/Xiamen/ Taiwan/Fuzhou. The spokesman said: 'We just started the service but we expect it to be good.' The service provided the company with optimal cost and transit-time savings. Maersk cargo is sent to its own terminal in Kaohsiung, where bonded chits are submitted to the authorities, allowing the cargo to be transferred to other vessels. Meanwhile, it was reported that Uniglory - a subsidiary of Evergreen - Yang Ming and Wan Hai Line would continue to operate a cross-strait service, although business was poor. Mr Yu, of Yang Ming, said its 250 teu vessel operating between Kaohsiung and Xiamen twice a week was barely half full. 'We are averaging about 80 teu a sailing, but we have no intention to give up because eventually the services will be extended,' he said. Costs were low so losses could be kept low. One of the high-profile casualties on the Chinese side is Sheng Da, a feeder of the Fujian Xiamen Shipping Co. The 350 teu vessel has been withdrawn until cargo volumes improve.