The container shipping industry has experienced significant structural changes in the last few years with many of the major players involved in vessel sharing agreements and also potential mergers.
The latest of these mergers is between Hapag-Lloyd and CSAV who have signed an agreement that would potentially make them the 4th largest shipping company in the world. In addition to this merger the US have also given a proposed vessel sharing agreement between Maersk and MSC (2M) the go ahead after ruling by majority verdict that the agreement was not likely to reduce competition or unfairly increase rates in the marketplace.
There are currently a number of these proposed alliances in the making as the shipping lines attempt to restructure and adapt to challenging conditions such as overcapacity of vessels, fluctuating demand and low freight costs. It is the effect on competition and pricing that is of key concern to the importers and exporters around the world who need to ensure that they continue to assess the best options and rates available for their cargo.