Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Asian Shipping Lines Form Strategic Alliances

Five shipping lines, including Asia’s largest, announced Dec. 27 that they’ve formed an alliance to provide new weekly shipping routes around the world.

Evergreen Line, Hanjin Shipping, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Yang Ming Line say they’re joining forces with Asia’s biggest shipping company, China Cosco, to offer 12 routes between Europe and the Mediterranean.

The cost and resource-sharing pact is expected to go forward during the second quarter of 2012. No West Coast lines are currently expected to be affected.
Last week, six Asia-based shipping lines revealed they’ve formed a pact to deploy new routes from the Far East; however, like this week’s newly-announced alliance, none of the routes is expected to involve the North American West Coast.

The so-called G6 Alliance, which would be among the largest such arrangements in the world, consists of APL, Hapag-Lloyd AG, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Mitsui OSK Lines, Nippon Yusen Kaisha and Orient Overseas Container Line.

The G6 says it expects to jointly deploy nine services from the Far East to northern Europe and the Mediterranean as a way to increase efficiency and become more competitive against industry giants like the world’s largest shipping company, Maersk Line.

“The nine joint services will offer more frequent departures with daily sailings and fast transit times,” the companies said in a Dec. 20 joint statement. “The schedule includes multiple weekly calls at Singapore, South China, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Rotterdam, Hamburg and Southampton.”

More than 90 ships are expected to cover over 40 ports starting in March or April of 2012, according to G6 member Hapag-Lloyd, and include deployment of the latest vessels with capacities of up to 14,000 TEU.

The new alliances come on the heels of another agreement forged earlier this month, when world’s second and third-largest shipping lines, Mediterranean Shipping and CMA-CGM, respectively, agreed to join forces on key global trade routes.

However, according to OOCL head of corporate planning Steven Ng, the G6 lines had been planning their alliance for some time, and its formation was not in response to the Mediterranean/CMA-CGM arrangement.