Every few years, ocean carriers organise themselves in new alliances. By pooling together fleets of ships and shipping containers on behalf of each other, it is possible to cover larger geographic areas and improve the shipping services. On April 1, Evergreen Line will form the new Ocean Alliance together with some of the world’s leading ocean carriers, becoming the largest ocean alliance for Asian-European trade.
What is the new Ocean Alliance?
The new Ocean Alliance will consist of Evergreen Line, CMA CGM, Cosmo Shipping, and OOCL. In addition to the Ocean Alliance, there are two other alliances: 2M and The Alliance. While the Ocean Alliance will represent 37 percent of all the Asia-Europe trades’ container capacity, 2M will represent 34 percent, and The Alliance 29 percent, making the Ocean Alliance the largest for Asian-European trade. The Ocean Alliance will deploy around 350 container vessels with an estimated total carrying capacity of 3.5 million TEUs, and represent 38 percent of the entire global trade.
There are going to be 6 services connected to Asia and Europe per week in total. The Ocean Alliance will call 18 ports directly in Asia and 13 ports directly in Europe. From this year on, the Ocean Alliance will also call ports directly in the Baltic Sea area. One of them is the Port of Gdansk in Poland, which will open up the possibility for the alliance to also extend the feeder network further in the Baltic Sea area.
How will customers benefit from the new Ocean Alliance?
With joint forces, the Ocean Alliance will be able to improve service quality and schedule reliability. Customers will benefit from a competitive selection of sailing schedules and direct port pairs, fast transit times, and a highly efficient fleet of vessels to cater to the needs of today’s demanding and increasingly green global supply chains.
The establishment of the new Ocean Alliance allows for lower operation costs and a possibility to offer customers more competitive freight rates. To meet the customers’ supply chain needs, the new Ocean Alliance will focus on providing superior services and the most extensive port coverage in the Asian and European markets including a vast network with the largest number of sailings and port rotations.
The Ocean Alliance and the future
Establishing a new ocean alliance is always hard work; there are a lot of rearrangements to be made and services to be redesigned. One future step for the Ocean Alliance is to extend the feeder network and further increase the port coverage into the Baltic Sea area. It will hopefully also be possible for the Ocean Alliance to call directly to the Port of Gothenburg in Sweden to extend reach into the Nordic market. As with previous years, the Ocean Alliance will continue to work closely with authorities to ensure full compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
Looking back at the past few years, there has been an overcapacity in the container segment, the freight rates have been low, there has been one big collapse, one big merge, and several take-overs. There is no doubt that the landscape is rapidly changing in the container shipping industry. But I think that, in the future, the ocean alliances will most likely become more stable, possibly stronger, and hopefully a positive force in society.