European shippers are worried the efficiencies Mediterranean Shipping and CMA CGM get from their alliance simply will translate into higher shipping rates.
“Shippers will quite naturally worry about the possible dominance of the new liner shipping pact, making the second- and third-largest carriers in the trades the biggest,” said Jean-Louis Cambon, chairman of the maritime transport council at the European Shippers’ Council.
“With competition based on market share alone, shippers are now being confronted by two mega-carriers on some of the world’s most important trade lanes. That has to be a worry for shippers looking for service and price differentiation,” Cambon said.
Still, he said, such a deep combination of services on key routes demonstrates the depth of the financial problems confronting the carriers and the threat MSC and CMA CGM see in Maersk Line’s growth.
Although the agreement amounts to a vessel-sharing alliance on the surface, Cambon said “vigilance is required to ensure that the arrangement remains an operational cooperation and does not restrain capacity beyond what would be justifiable during a slack season.”