Are all these shipping mergers good news?
The European Shippers’ Council (ESG) and the Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) have joined forces to raise concerns over the impacts of new container shipping ‘alliances’ and their ever-increasing use of 18,000 TEU mega-ships. Although, it will no doubt help the shipping industry to tackle over-capacity and improve efficiencies, many shippers fear that too few companies within the industry with each controlling so much of the market will reduce carrier choice and quality.
The ESG have joined the GSF in promoting their research and analysis, titled ‘The Implications of Mega-Ships and Alliances for Competition and Total Supply Chain Efficiency: An Economic Perspective’. The GSF led paper will entail a number of recommendations to the world’s regulatory bodies about how to avoid a reduced number of carriers, which will have negative implications on shippers.
It offers a range of options for national and regional competition authorities on how to approach the regulation and oversight of the new shipping alliances. Some of the options include ensuring sufficient and independent competition on key trade routes, repealing existing exemptions from antitrust laws and implementing monitoring of alliances.
“GSF has made the voice of shippers heard in the UN agencies responsible for the regulation of the maritime sector and supported many of its member associations in advancing more transparent regulation of the container shipping industry in their home markets,” said Bob Ballantyne, chairman of GSF.
“ESC, with its network of contacts in the European institutions, will bring further pressure to bear in the key European liner markets,” said Ballantyne.
Both chairmen’s have called on regulatory bodies and shippers from around the globe to take notice and respond accordingly for the benefit of the industry.
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