Shippers squeezing margins 'pushed carriers toward bigger ships and alliances'

Shippers squeezing margins ‘pushed carriers toward bigger ships and alliances’

Container shipping lines yesterday shrugged off accusations that bigger ships and alliances would lead to less choice and less supply chain resilience, and argued that instead, shippers had brought these changes upon themselves. Olaf Merk, of the International Transport Forum, explained to delegates at Transport Logistic in Munich how the recent changes in the liner industry could lead to a negative outcome for the supply chain. “There is a pathway where bigger ships and vertical integration give rise to the concentration of ports and cargo, and they will have less leverage as the shipping lines get more powerful.” Mr Merk pointed to how consolidation had changed the market: in 2000, four carriers had 23% market share; while in 2016, four carriers held nearly 50%. In addition, fewer ports were served. “Alliances have become an important mechanism in container shipping. Of the major trade routes, 95% are covered by three […]