Ocean Freight Carriers Set For Merry-Go-Round

January 22, 2024

 

Ocean Freight Carriers Set For Merry-Go-Round

 

The world of Ocean freight is currently facing some turmoil with vessels being unable to pass easily through the Red Sea or the Panama Canal, but the future landscape of carrier alliances is perhaps more controversial right now.

For many years now, the major shipping lines have been operating within 3 global alliances – The 2M Alliance, THE Alliance (THEA) and The Ocean Alliance. These are effectively groups of carriers that agree to share vessels between them for services around the world that ensure better cost control and better service coverage.

However, carrier moves and changing regulations have led to the current format being dismantled by 2025, leaving an unclear picture ahead.

The 2M Alliance includes the world’s two biggest carriers Maersk and MSC, who have agreed to disband from 2025. It was initially thought that they would be running their own independent networks until a surprise announcement that Maersk are going to be working with Hapag Lloyd from next year.

The news that Hapag Lloyd are joining Maersk has confused the industry, as they are currently the largest member of THEA and its is unclear whether the remaining members can sustain that alliance without the German carrier.

There is also an EU ruling overshadowing carrier alliances. Back in October the European Commision ruled that they will not be renewing the CBER exemption when it expires this April. CBER is an exemption regulation that has been enabling carriers to operate within the EU as alliances since 2009.

What is for sure is the current carrier landscape for ocean freight will be significantly different come next year and Evolution are monitoring developments with great interest.

 

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