Dangerous Shipping Oligopoly
Be more than 80% of global container transport focused on three alliances and the growing presence of the shipping companies in port and logistics operation, urged to seriously reflect the regional port sector on the consequences of this hoarding of the logistics chain.
According to the latest report by Alphaliner, with the purchase of OOCL by the Chinese shipping company Cosco, this became the second worldwide with a market share of 14.5%, surpassed only by Maersk/Hamburg Süd with a 19.4% and followed of Mediterranean Shipping Corp. (MSC) with a 12.3%; CMA CGM is in fourth place with a 11.8%, for a total of 58% between all four. If to this we add the rumor of merger of CMA-CGM and Hapag-Lloyd (the latter mired in heavy losses), realized by now denied megering between third (CMA-CGM) and fifth (Hapag-Lloyd) major container carriers, belonging to different cargo-sharing alliances (Ocean Alliance and The Alliance respectively), would be four shipping lines controlling 62% of the market (nearly two thirds). Previous mergers have begun with denials rumors.
However, if we take into account cargo-sharing alliances, Ocean Alliance (CMA, Cosco Shipping e Evergreen) has 34.5% of the market, followed by 2M Alliance (Maersk/Hamburg Süd and MSC) with 31.7%, and in third position The Alliance (Hapag Lloyd, Yang Ming, MOL, NYK, and K Line) with 16.9%, the world shipowner market is concentrated in three large alliances that add up to 83.1%. Worse still, taking into account the control that the shipping companies are exerting on the global port operations In Spain have had a massive purchase of port terminals by the shipping companies and not only container terminals, but inland ports, because they have the intention and will to control maritime traffic and intermediation associated value chain(nearly half of the terminals are already under its control or in alliance with powerful multinational port operators) and its increasingly aggressive presence in logistics activities, is very possible that in a not very distant future maritime and port container business will be one single, at the same times shipping companies controlling logistics from both ends of the chain.
According to Tuscor Lloyds Global Logistics, consolidation in container shipping sector seems to be part of a trend, as evidenced by the fact that in 1996 the 10 major shipping companies controlled 45% of capacity, and today, 12 years later, half of these shipping companies control almost twice. To this must be added that for AP Møller Mærsk’s CEO, Søren Skou, a great consolidation in the container transport market seems to be imminent and likely resulting in the survival of five or six major carriers. And quite possibly only two major shipping alliances, one European and other from China, which are leading calls reduction and lifting of rates for the reparation of many years of losses. Meanwhile President of Puertos del Estado of Spain, José Llorca, predicted a few months ago that the current process of partnerships carried out by shipping companies
ongoing partnerships carried out by shipping companies around the world, aims to take control of all aspects involved in the logistics chain and, in this regard, added: “In Spain have had a massive purchase of port terminals by the shipping companies and not only container terminals, but inland ports, because they have the intention and will to control maritime traffic and intermediation associated value chain; perhaps the most exemplary case in is trend is Portugal that recently privatized its railway and imagine who stayed with the company: MSC, the second shipping company in the world”.
What expect to the global container trade in hands of two large logistics predators? While some major multinational port operators as Hutchinson Ports, to protect it business have begun to ally himself with shipping lines as Cosco, what to expect of the future of regional port terminals seeking to continue operating independently?