To say there has been a lot of change in the shipping industry recently would be a monumental understatement. The scale and pace at which shipping consolidation is taking place is unprecedented. In a period of less than three years, the global roster of shipping lines will have effectively shrunk from 20 to 13.
This is the result of six announced or executed mergers and acquisitions, the collapse of the world’s seventh largest shipping line and the emergence of a new entrant. During the same time period, the make-up of the vessel sharing alliances also changed.
The previous 2M, CKYHE, Ocean Three and G6 alliances gave way to the latest iteration, 2M+H, Ocean Alliance and THE Alliance. And, just as service deployments under the new alliance structure set sail, the three Japanese lines — K Line, MOL and NYK — revealed the organizational structure of their newly integrated container line operation under the Ocean Network Express brand, which will operate as a member of THE Alliance.
Only weeks later, COSCO announced its plan to acquire fellow Ocean Alliance member OOCL. And, notwithstanding all of this change in so little time, there is no reason to believe this is the end of consolidation.