updated Oct 26, 2016

New Carrier Alliances Taking Shape

There has been a lot of news in ocean carrier alliances and mergers in the past year.  The many recent changes to the ocean carrier alliances have re-shaped the landscape of these partnerships.    The finalized partnerships are set to launch in April 2017 as follows:




Hyundai Merchant Marine


OCEAN Alliance







THE Alliance 


Yang Ming




K Line

*possibly Hyundai Merchant Marine

Major Global Carriers without a Current Affiliation 

Hamburg SUD


Why do carriers form alliances?


With the creation of mega-ships the need for vessel sharing has grown immensely.   This allows a carrier to offer additional service without actually owning or operating a ship within a specific market.

How are the alliances changing the landscape of ocean shipping?  

The short answer is very minimally. 


Up to this point, these partnerships have really only been a simple vessel sharing agreement.  Despite the pairings, carriers have not been able to find a common ground to provide cost rigidity.  The cutthroat world of ocean pricing and market share remains intact leading to low profitability for the carrier and aggressive pricing for importers & exporters alike. 


What happens next?


I believe the next logical step for carriers is to directly turn away from the alliances and merge together to form larger entities.    We have seen this recently with the CMA acquisition of APL, and the pending acquisition of UASC by Hapag Lloyd.  We anticipate that within the next 5-15 years there will only be about 5-7 larger carriers holding all of the market share.  


Your thoughts and opinions are valued and encouraged!
Please send an email to chapka@scarbrough-intl.com and I would love to discuss further.

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