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Alliances’ capacity stands at just 39%

Alphaliner’s latest report shows that the major container shipping alliances control just 39% of the global box shipping fleet, far below the 80% they previously had.

The consultancy’s latest count shows that the capacity operated by the 2M, THE and Ocean alliances fell to a three-year low in January.

Alphaliner said, “Despite frequent claims the alliances control 80% of the container fleet, an Alphaliner survey shows the nine carriers that form the three major alliances operate the majority of their capacity outside their alliance agreements. The actual amount of capacity operated under ‘alliance services’ is equivalent to a steady 38%-41% of the total fleet based on data from the last five years.”

While the alliances’ members (MSC, Maersk, CMA CGM, COSCO Group, Evergreen Marine Corporation, ONE, Hapag-Lloyd, HMM, and Yang Ming Marine Transport) control almost 83% of the global fleet, many of these ships are operated independently, with just 39% run under alliance agreements.

Alliance service concentration rises on specific routes, particularly long-haul trades that need large tonnage and a minimum number of ships in order to ensure sufficient rotations.

Some 94% of capacity on the Far East – Europe (North Europe and Mediterranean) trade is currently operated under alliance services. This constitutes the longest of the major east-west routes, and presents the highest barrier to entry for new carriers, with services requiring at least 10 ships of at least 13,000 TEU to stay competitive.

On the transpacific, alliance services represent 81% of total capacity.

On the shorter transatlantic route, where fewer ships are needed to maintain service rotation, alliance services represent just 47% of total capacity.

Although composed of the world’s two largest box lines, the 2M is the smallest alliance, with a total capacity of 2.8 million TEU, compared to OCEAN Alliance at 4.3 million TEU and THE Alliance at 3 million TEU.

While sharing vessels, the alliances do not centralise sales, and carriers within an alliance must compete between themselves to attract clients based on service quality and rate differentiation rather than route.

Transpacific and transatlantic alliance shares have partly fallen because MSC, which will end its alliance with Maersk in 2025, is increasingly going solo.

Having dethroned Maersk at the top of the liner rankings in early 2022, MSC now operates 75% of its global capacity outside the 2M alliance – the highest proportion of the nine alliance carriers.

Among the remaining carriers, Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd operate 61% and 57% of global capacity outside of their respective alliances.

Yang Ming, HMM and Evergreen provide many of their services through alliances, operating just 20%, 22% and 24% of their fleets on an independent basis.

MSC’s increasingly independent approach was underlined in February by the introduction of its standalone Asia – Mediterranean Dragon service deploying 9,000-14,400 TEU ships. This former joint 2M service was suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic and was permanently closed earlier this year.

THE Alliance member HMM also recently decided to continue the former PS8 transpacific loop by itself.

On the transpacific, MSC offers the largest proportion of independent tonnage of the alliance carriers, with 26 units of 260,000 TEU run pn a standalone basis, well ahead of the next carrier CMA CGM with a dozen ships of 69,000 TEU.

Source: Container News


MSC and Maersk accused of abusing container dominance in Brazil

The Brazilian Association of Port Terminals (ABTP) has filled a legal request at the Administrative Economic Defense Council (CADE) of Brazil to investigate the impact of the two largest container lines in the world, MSC and Maersk, on the country’s port market.

ABTP accuses the two container shipping giants of abusing their domination in the box shipping sector in Brazil to give advantages to their own terminals, raising costs and reducing options for the flow of cargo in the country.

ABTP has noted that the two members of the 2M Alliance are responsible for 79% of containers (53% directly and another 26% through commercial agreements) transported along the Brazilian coast. According to them, the control of the flow of cargo is done in such a way that the seven port terminals owned by the two companies would be favored to the detriment of others, even in cases in which other ports are closer to the origin/destination of the cargo.

The terminals that are controlled by MSC and Maersk are three in Santa Catarina and one in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, and Ceará each and are currently handling approximately 50% of the containerised cargo movement in Brazil.

“The situation should still get worse because the two companies must reach the eighth container terminal, at Estaleiro Atlântico Sul (in Pernambuco),” pointed out Jesualdo Conceição Silva, president of ABTP.

There are 19 other terminals in the country which are not owned by MSC and Maersk and there is a risk of a “generalised crash” if no action will be taken, according to ABTP’s president.

Source: Container News