Thursday, December 5, 2013

Container Shipping Partners Consolidate Freight Routes to Challenge P3 Alliance

It Seems Big Three Will Have to Fight Off Alternative G6 + 1 Network as Box Rates Continue to Climb
Shipping News Feature

ASIA – NORTH AMERICA – EUROPE – With the future of the P3 network, which draws together the world’s three largest container shipping lines, Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM, still to be decided by the authorities, the members of the already established G6 Alliance have announced plans to expand their cooperation to the Asia-North America West Coast and Trans-Atlantic trade lanes, a move seen by many in the freight industry as a challenge on the potential dominance of the proposed P3 Global Alliance, by providing a network comprising all East-West trade lanes deploying a total of about 240 vessels connecting 66 Asian, American and European ports.

The G6 Alliance, whose members are APL, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Mitsui OSK Line (MOL), Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) and Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), plans to deploy about 76 ships across 12 services connecting 27 Asian and North America West Coast ports, with approximately another 42 ships deployed across five services including two pendulum services in the Trans-Atlantic trade lane calling at 25 ports covering the US East Coast, US West Coast, Canada, Panama, Mexico, Netherlands, the UK, France, Belgium and Germany.

According to the member carriers of the G6 Alliance, the aim of the expanded cooperation is to provide customers with more service choices and increased sailing frequency, highlighting the Asia-North America West Coast trade where each member will apparently be able to offer almost twice as many sailings, compared to what is currently offered separately by The New World Alliance (APL, Hyundai Merchant Marine and MOL) and the Grand Alliance (Hapag-Lloyd, NYK and OOCL).

The new services are scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2014, pending regulatory approval, with details on services and port rotations to be announced at a later date and, subject to regulatory approval, it seems that ZIM Lines may also cooperate in the new arrangement. Rafael Ben-Ari, ZIM VP Shipping, said:

“Joint ventures are part of ZIM’s ongoing strategy. We are partners on the PNW with the Grand Alliance since 2009 and discuss to continue moving forward. Our aim as always is to improve the services to our customers.”

In other box shipping news several companies, including MSC and COSCO have announced Bunker Surcharges and General Rate Increases including MSC’s extra $750 per TEU as a Bunker Contribution for Australia and New Zealand Southbound trade from January 2014 and COSCO’s GRI from the Far East to South America (West coast) and Mexico of up to $1200 per forty footer.