Freight forwarder claims new container alliances will frustrate shippers

Freight forwarder claims new container alliances will frustrate shippers

With just over a week to go until container shipping’s big alliance shuffle an online freight forwarder has hit out at the merry-go-round, saying it will lead to a shortage of options for freight forwarders.

April 1 sees the previous four alliances regrouped to three – THE Alliance, the Ocean Alliance and 2M.

According Carlos Hernández, the co-founder of online freight forwarder iContainers, the effect of this new reshuffle is a reduction of shipping options.

“Given the sharing of vessels and routes, this basically translates into multiple carriers having the exact same schedule. Instead of having seven or eight carriers offering a sailing of their own, we will perhaps only be getting three,” Hernández said. “Generally, this means having fewer alternatives when customers need to meet certain deadlines, which can be rather frustrating.”

Already, the industry has been left one player short, following the collapse of South Korean liner Hanjin Shipping.

According to iContainers, the three new alliances represent 77.2% of global container capacity and 96% of all East-West trades. Of them, the Ocean Alliance offers the most services, with some 40 loops. THE Alliance follows with 32 services and 2M with 25.

“Hopefully, this will shake things up a little and we can see a healthier industry again: One where good service forms an integral part of shipping lines’ attraction and not just a component of an ocean freight quote,” Hernández concluded.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Hariesh Manaadiar
    March 23, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    It is indeed worrying in terms of the monopoly or hold these alliances can have over freight contracts, space allocations and such..