2017 will be an interesting year to see what happens with the updated shipping alliances announced this year. With 80% of the world's fleet in alliances and overcapacity a buzz word nowadays, I really wonder what we can expect with all the shuffle and hustle from 2016's alliance news. So much rivalry makes it über exciting for us shipping nerds. In particular, the alliance that calls themself "THE Alliance" was born out of a wish to debunk the mighty Maersk and its 2M friends.
With Hanjin now history, THE Alliance will do with Hamburg giant Hapag-Lloyd, the Japanese trio Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd., Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd. and Nippon Yusen KK; Taiwan's Yang Ming and UASC who merged with Hapag Lloyd.
Some say this alliance may be a weak one with the Hanjin bankruptcy not making the story any prettier. Given the size of Maersk (made even larger by the acquisition of Hamburg Süd last week), MSC and the consolidation of the Chinese liners, we'll really have to see what happens come April 2017.
Earlier in the year, the following was quoted in Bloomberg: “It’s a grouping of the weak,” said Minoru Matsuno, president of a Tokyo-based investment advisory firm Value Search Asset Management Co., referring to the new shipping alliance. “Given the size of Maersk and the Chinese shipping lines, the companies in this new group need to review their strategy. Otherwise I am very skeptical about their ability to survive.”
As we all well know, anything can happen in this industry. We may call THE Alliance weak in mid-2016, but come 2017, the industry may be tail side up, and we may encounter other bankruptcies, mergers and acquisitions. We're having a tough time keeping all our blog posts and infographics updated given how quick the landscape changes. But, I am not complaining.
Two things that will be affected for sure are ocean freight rates and service. We'll all be on our feet to see what comes next year. In the meantime, below an infographic on THE Alliance to keep you straight with shipping alliance trivia.
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