Shippers choice of carrier diminishing

Attracting 64,000 visitors from 125 countries Munich’s Transport Logistic is one of the industry’s biggest events, so when shippers and forwarders express concerns over the increasing decline in container carriers the press take notice.

In a recent report The Loadstar quoted industry sources complaints that carrier options were down from 15 to 5 following wave after wave of M&A activity, and depleted further by the recent decision of CMA CGM to discontinue its APL brand in Europe.

“We are down to around five carriers now from around 15 a few years back, but effectively it is three options given the dominance of the alliances particularly on Asia to Europe,” Said one Loadstar source.

“There is not much to choose between any of them in terms of service,” he said. “Few of them have any interest in schedule reliability anymore; they all roll over cargo, blank sailings and tranship whenever it suits them with little or sometimes no information to us their customer.”

Many industry insiders believe that the ultra large container vessels (ULCV) are simply too big to manage properly and that the race to have the biggest ships, and in theory the lowest unit cost base, has been a failure.

ULCV’s may not have achieved the economies of scales imagined, but they are not going anywhere for a decade and more, leaving ports with the headache of accommodating them, and the lines finding more cargo to fill them.

In the meantime supply chains are creaking under the strain and taking longer and longer to deliver a box to the end user, as ports struggle to pass on the massive volumes to a diminishing haulage resource.

See the full article “From 15 to five in just a few years – shippers’ declining choice of container carriers” on The loadstar