iContainers: New Alliances to ‘Shake Things Up’

New shipping alliances set to come into effect next week will lead to a shortage of options for freight forwarders, online freight forwarder iContainers said.

Starting April 1 the previous four alliances will be regrouped to three, namely THE Alliance, Ocean Alliance and 2M. The effect of this new reshuffle is a reduction of shipping options, according to Carlos Hernández, the co-founder of iContainers.

Already the industry has been left one player short following the collapse of South Korean liner Hanjin Shipping. With the new groupings there will be even fewer players in the market.

“Given the sharing of vessels and routes, this basically translated 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, adding that this means having fewer alternatives when customers need to meet certain deadlines.

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

According to Hernández, the shipping industry can expect to see changes in the traditional patterns it is used to seeing, but that it “will shake things up a little and we can see a healthier industry again.”

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