The briefing on alliances in container shipping

The news, views and numbers you need to know this month

News in numbers


The top four carriers accounted for 60% of the global container shipping market in 2018


Nowadays, virtually all large carriers form part of a global alliance


The world’s top three global alliances are 2M, Ocean and THE Alliance


Together, they represent around 80% of overall container trade

1 in 5

Two decades ago, only one of the top five carriers was part of an alliance


The increase in capacity between the top 15 biggest carriers over the course of this year

In quotes

Olaf Merk, Lucie Kirstein and Filip Salamitov, OECD:

Liner shipping does not have unique characteristics that justify exemptions from competition law, either for conferences or for alliances. In line with the global long-term trend to dismantle sector specific exemptions from competition law and in line with OECD regulatory principles, generic antitrust rules should apply to all agreements between liner shipping companies.

Drewry, research and consulting services to the maritime and shipping industry:

Despite working in an industry that has often displayed a dark tendency for ruthless undercutting, carriers appear to brush aside any ill-feeling that might be caused by predatory commercial behaviour, and generally play well together operationally.

Guy Platten, UK Chamber of Shipping CEO:

I think this country is a great place to do maritime business. I genuinely believe that. Brexit or no Brexit, it will remain a great place. Most shipping contracts are written with English law as the default option. We were [after all] a great maritime nation before we joined the EU.

Electrification – maybe that’s a black swan. Maybe by 2050 we will have found a way to include decarbonized electricity within the maritime sector. That would be transformational.

Top stories

The World Shipping Council has accused the International Transport Forum of naivety after the release of its Impact of Alliances on Container Shipping report. “The fact that the ITF paper calls for repeal of the EU consortia regulation, based on a discussion of alliances that do not fall within that regulation, while the paper ignores the vessel sharing arrangements that do fall within the regulation, makes the work ill-suited to the task for which it was apparently designed,” the WC said.

Source: The Load Star

The major deep sea alliances could begin to extend their joint service network to secondary north-south trades, such as those serving Latin America, as they look to squeeze more efficiency from their cooperation agreements. Michael Kristiansen, owner of consultancy CK Americas, told delegates at this week’s TOC America Container Supply Chain event in Panama: “I think the global alliances are coming – whether it is little by little or very fast, I think it is inevitable.”

Source: The Load Star

José María Dodds, president of the management consortium of the Argentinian Port of La Plata, has suggested that more powerful shipping alliances may be a factor in preventing a major shift of box traffic away from the port of Buenos Aires in favour of La Plata, where the International Container Terminal Services' TecPlata container terminal remains empty.

Source: Port Strategy

COSCO Shipping Ports Limited and PSA Corporation Limited signed a memorandum of understanding for the addition of two new berths at the COSCO PSA Terminal in Singapore. The new berths will strengthen CSP’s presence in Singapore and support the needs of COSCO Shipping group with the advent of mega-vessels and mega-alliances in the shipping industry.

Source: Port News