The consolidation of services that Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM announced on Dec. 1 does not herald a new wave of consolidations among container shipping lines in the next 12 months, according to Alphaliner.
Carriers would face “significant” hurdles to any acquisitions in the present environment of tight credit and weak capital markets, Alphaliner said in its latest newsletter.
The French news service said carriers will seek to expand operational alliances through partnerships with other lines, but such moves do not result in a reduction of competition.
The pooling of services between the two European carriers is basically a slot exchange and vessel-sharing arrangement which Alphaliner called “neither unique nor groundbreaking.”
The new partnership between the two carriers is widely seen as a response by the world’s second and third-largest carriers to the Daily Maersk service on the Asia-Europe trade that Maersk Line, the world’s largest carrier, launched in October.
MSC and CMA CGM have cooperated episodically on the trans-Atlantic during the last decade, and both have been involved in a trans-Pacific VSA since 2004, which Maersk joined during the downturn in trade in 2008.
Alphaliner said such partnerships are common industry practice, and have been prevalent since the early consortia arrangements established in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the trans-Atlantic, Europe-Australia and Europe-Far East trades.
Contact Peter T. Leach at email@example.com.