Carrier Alliances are alliances between the companies that own and operate the shipping vessels that transport freight around the world. They share their fleets in order to widen their global reach and extend the services they can offer.
There have previously been 4 carrier alliances, but from 1st April 2017 there are now just 3. These new carrier alliances are:
2M Alliance – This includes Maersk Line, MSC, HMM and Hamburg Sud. UK Ports of Discharge are Felixstowe and Southampton. 2M will control 40% of capacity with 6 sailings per week.
OCEAN Alliance – CMA CGM (including APL), COSCO, OOCL and Evergreen. UK Ports of Discharge are Felixstowe and Southampton. OCEAN will control 35% of capacity with 6 sailings per week.
THE Alliance – Hapag-Lloyd, MOL, NYK, K-Line and Yang Ming. UK Ports of Discharge are Southampton and London Gateway. THE Alliance will control 25% of capacity with 5 sailings per week.
Overall these alliances control 77.2% of overall container capacity, with the remaining percentage falling to independent vessel owner/operators.
So how will this affect your ocean imports/exports?
The new alliances mean that there will be a more even split of the UK ports used, including London Gateway getting its first services from China and the USA. This will have a positive impact on haulage costs on imports for consignees based in and around London.
Overall, container capacity between Europe and the Far East will increase by 10%, which is extremely positive given the need for more space to fulfil the ever increasing requirements of trade between the two geographic areas.
Your freight forwarder will always be able to advise you on the best alliance to use for your shipment. For example, 50% of the services on the OCEAN Alliance and THE Alliance will no longer be direct services when travelling from the Far East towards Europe. Instead, these shipments will be transhipped, which could lead to longer transit times.
At RISA, we have access to all alliance shipping lines and have comprehensive knowledge of the alliances, ports of discharge and transit times. If you have any questions about how these new alliances may affect your imports and exports to and from the UK, Please feel free to ask us a question in the Comments section below, via email, or connect with us on Twitter.