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admin | Category: Shipping Container Dimensions | 11.06.2014
The proposed merger of Chinese state-owned shipping groups China Shipping and Cosco, and the possible takeover of NOL and its container arm APL by CMA CGM, could lead to a  structural shakeup in container line alliances, according to delegates at last week’s Intermodal conference in Hamburg.
Camilla Jain Holtse, competition compliance officer at Maersk Line, suggested that east-west alliances could drop in number from four to three in the aftermath of the current round of M&A activity in the industry.
Other permutations might be a transformation of the Ocean Three into the Ocean Four; the G6 to the G5 and the CKYHE becoming the KYHE. CMA CMG and China Shipping are currently part of the Ocean Three, Cosco is a CKYHE member and APL part of the G6. Anthony Woolich, partner at Holman Fenwick Willan said he expected Chinese regulators to approve the China Shipping-COSCO merger without delay, but was not sure what the stance of American regulator, the FMC, or the European Commission would be. Ms Holtse argued that shippers were already seeing considerable benefits from existing alliances, including her firm’s 2M tie-up with MSC, including receiving “a better product at a lower cost”. Ms Holtse reminded delegates that there was a long history of vessel-sharing agreements (VSAs) and alliances in the liner industry and new, larger groupings would not affect competition in the market. She also said alliances allowed smaller carriers to compete with their bigger peers and added that there was “no evidence of large-scale VSAs increasing freight rates” on any routes.
However, Peter Wolters, sustainability business development manager at the European Shippers’ Council, claimed mega-alliances had resulted in a “hub and spoke overdose”, with a longer lead time for containers and a greater risk for goods. Mr Wolters singled out the current strategy of blanking sailings to adjust supply and demand, describing it as “plaguing the industry”, and pointed out that most liner reliability surveys were unable to take into account voyages that had been withdrawn. Cancelled sailings, often at short-notice, have led to containers being rolled-over or transhipped, and details were often poorly communicated by carriers to shippers, causing considerable disruption to the supply chain, said Mr Wolters.
He argued that, with the advent of the big alliances, service quality had declined, with some carriers not being informed by their partners of vessel delays or additional port changes. He said that there had also been a notable deterioration in other service levels, including delays in answering requests for quotations and errors in bills of lading and invoicing. Economist Nils von Hinten Reed, managing partner at CEG Europe, suggested that, with the obvious exception of price-fixing, carriers should be allowed to co-operate more closely to improve performance for the mutual benefit of both the container lines and their customers.
He thought that although shippers might say they want a premium service, they had not appeared willing to pay for it, citing the example of the aborted Daily Maersk product.
These were the results of a survey the Dutch Shippers’ Association (EVO), representing the interests of 15,000 manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers, collectively referred to as shippers, orders every year among its members on their sentiments towards container liner shipping companies. This is the fourth consecutive year the survey has been conducted by the Rotterdam School of Management of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, with shippers evaluating the degree of service levels of the container liners which they have done business over the last twelve months on reliability, communications, pricing and shipping routes. The most important conclusion is that just as in 2014, shippers ranked the reliability of booking as the most important thing.

Reliability was followed by availability of cargo space, cost of service, accurate documentation, delivery of information, customer service quality, quality of equipment, transit time, contract quality and accurate billing.
The carrier that performed best on an overall basis, was awarded the EVO Container Liner Shipping Award 2015. Posted on December 21, 2015 with tags competition, container shipping alliances, Dutch Shippers, EVO.
Emergence of major shipping alliances has not convinced major shippers of the benefits they promised to bring. Mergers and acquisitions, rather than the historically more popular alliances, are inevitable to address chronic overcapacity and drive further cost savings in container shipping, Fitch Ratings says. Alliances have proved popular because of their flexibility and because many shipping companies are either family- or state-owned. The potential merger between Hapag-Lloyd and UASC would create the fifth-largest container shipping company with a 7.2% share of global fleet capacity. Last week, CMA CGM, COSCO Container Lines, Evergreen Line and Orient Overseas Container Line announced a plan to create Ocean Alliance, which is intended to begin operations in April 2017 for five years, subject to regulatory approvals. Shortly after lunchtime on June 5 onboard FPSO Cidade de Rio das Ostras, a crew member spotted a sea turtle trapped in a fishing net drifting on the surface of the waves.
Initial test runs through the expanded Panama Canal began Thursday as tugs led a bulk carrier into the first set of locks on the Atlantic side of the canal, AP reports.
Shares in Singapore-based oilfield services firm Otto Marine Ltd jumped 37 percent on Thursday after the company received an offer from its majority shareholder to take it private. CMA CGM has finally made its all-cash voluntary conditional general offer for all the outstanding shares of Neptune Orient Lines (NOL). Dans un contexte de forte concurrence et de taux de fret toujours plus bas, de nouvelles alliances maritimes viennent de se conclure.
La fusion de China Shipping avec Cosco suscitait deja des interrogations quant au futur des alliances dont elles etaient membres. The main advantage carriers derived from alliance membership was the “ability to deploy large vessels efficiently, thereby improving utilisation”, she said. She argued that alliances provided “frequent sailings and cheap rates”, as cost savings are ultimately passed on to the shipper. EVO trusts that this survey is contributing to an improved understanding of the shippers’ needs and that this will enable all stakeholders to unlock our common opportunities. The merger talks between Hapag-Lloyd and United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) announced last week demonstrate that full-blown M&A deals are gaining momentum.

But market conditions are now unsustainable, with freight rates falling below operating unit costs for many companies and bank loans increasingly difficult to obtain.
The new group is formed from the main, and in most cases financially strongest, entities from the G6, Ocean Three and CKYHE alliances, and will have a market share to rival the 2M alliance between Maersk Line and MSC.
Nous travaillons en partenariat avec de nombreuses compagnies maritimes, rigoureusement selectionnees sur la base d’accords privilegies. Ports who have made great gains, now need to support this call by liners, decrease in cost and cooperation, revenue flow will be there but this will decline on the bottom line P&L.
With these results in mind, EVO wants to improve the conversation between supplier and customer,” EVO said. Although capacity on the Far East to Europe trade routes is dominated by just four alliances - 2M (36% of the total fleet capacity in September 2015, according to A.P. This will continue to drive M&A, which can more effectively reduce costs, increase utilisation rates and support more disciplined capacity management. Hapag-Lloyd is mostly focused on Transatlantic and Latin American trade, and the merger will strengthen its position in Asian and Middle Eastern routes.
We believe it is likely to put further pressure on the financially weaker companies and result in a reshuffle of the remaining alliances. Notre experience nous permet de connaitre les facteurs cles de la reussite d’un projet maritime. Moller-Maersk), CKYHE (24%), Ocean Three (21%) and G6 (18%) - container shipping remains effectively fragmented, highly competitive and plagued by overcapacity. Examples include the recent merger between China's COSCO and CSCL, creating the world's fourth-largest container shipping company, and the planned acquisition of NOL by CMA CGM, which would strengthen CMA CGM's position as the global number three. Hapag-Lloyd will also gain access to UASC's ultra-large 18,000 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) and 15,000TEU vessels, which are essential for competing on Asia-Europe routes. However, the long-term agreement between UASC and CSCL for deployment of mega ships on certain trades is expected to remain in place.
This is because alliances operate within a limited scope and lack full coordination of networks and fleets, and exploitation of resources.
If the merger goes ahead, operational integration and reorganisation will be crucial to keeping the combined entity profitable.

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