No shipping line- not even Maersk! – can afford to buy and operate all the vessels they would need to offer weekly sailings to every port they serve – Hence the New Shipping Alliances.
Working together in Alliances allows the lines to offer more sailings using less vessels. Though this hasn’t stood in the way of even more consolidation!
For shippers there are challenges in dealing effectively with the alliances.
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At MIQ Logistics we contract our cargo across all three alliances to maximise volume commitments, but also critically to minimise risk.
This is because individual carriers share vessels within their alliances, which means that even if you book space with two different carriers it does not guarantee that you’re shipping on two different vessels.
Using the right alliance also means that you may have access to greater geographic coverage than you would get from any individual carrier.
And you can get more frequent sailings because you have access to other vessels within the alliance.
THE NEW SHIPPING ALLIANCES
As of April 1st 2017 the are just three global shipping alliances: “2M”, “The Alliance” and “Ocean Alliance”
Maersk and MSC have a combined capacity of about 6 million TEUs, and that’s about 29.5% of the overall global market share in container capacity.
Maersk’s plan to acquire Hamburg Sud would push 2M’s container market share to 33.4%.
“OCEAN” Alliance: CMA, COSCO, Evergreen, OOCL
The Ocean alliance represents roughly 26% of global container capacity or about 5.5 million TEU’s.
COSCO’s proposed takeover of OOCL makes it the 3rd largest global carrier, but will have no impact on alliance operations, though COSCO may have their eye on other acquisitions.
“THE Alliance”: Hapag-Lloyd, KLINE, MOL, NYK, Yang Ming
Since launching THE Alliance the three Japanese lines have announced their intention to merge creating the 6th largest global carrier and Hapag-Lloyd has completed its merger with UASC creating a combined fleet of 230 vessels and a capacity of 1.6 million boxes.
THE Alliance currently represent roughly 16% of global container capacity.
NOTE – All three alliances are practical arrangements, which means that their compositions will change over time.