iContainers: Alliances Will ‘Shake Things Up’


The Co-Founder of iContainers, Carlos Hernández, has warned that the new shipping alliances set to come into effect next week (April 1, 2017) will lead to a shortage of options for freight forwarders but may create a stronger sector and “shake things up”.

The executive of the online freight forwarder has told the shipping industry to expect changes in the traditional patterns it’s used to when the three new alliances form next month to represent 77.2% of global container capacity and 96% of all East-West trades. 

Hernández said: “Hopefully, this will shake things up a little and we can see a healthier industry again where good service forms an integral part of shipping lines’ attraction and not just a component of an ocean freight quote.

“Given the sharing of vessels and routes, this basically translates into multiple carriers having the exact same schedule. Instead of having seven or eight carriers offering a sailing of their own, we will perhaps only be getting three.

“Generally, this means having fewer alternatives when customers need to meet certain deadlines, which can be rather frustrating.”

Drewry recently analysed the state of play with the carrier groupings and found that the Ocean Alliance offers the most services with some 40 loops while THE Alliance follows with 32 services and 2M with 25.

However, this may have to change.

Developments with antitrust investigators at the US Justice Department have come to light today as top executives from several container shipping lines have been summoned as part of a probe into the carrier alliances.

Infographic: Largest Shipping Alliance Ever

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