New ocean carrier mega-alliances viewed as benefiting cargo owners

By: | Issue #646 | at 08:43 AM | Channel(s): Liner Shipping  

New ocean carrier mega-alliances viewed as benefiting cargo owners

As new ocean carrier mega-alliances launch this month, shippers may expect service improvements and other benefits, according to container line and beneficial cargo owner executives speaking at a conference hosted by the Jacksonville Port Authority.

The latest alliances were among topics about which optimism was expressed March 21 at the JAXPORT Logistics & Intermodal Conference in St. Augustine, Florida.

Carter Noland, supply chain director at major pulp producer GP Cellulose LLC, said he expects transit times to improve under the new carrier structure, adding, “and we certainly should take advantage of that.” International Forest Products LLC’s director of global transportation, Charlie Cunnion, said he does not anticipate negatives resulting from the new alliances while he expects low ocean freight rates to continue, commenting, “I think it’s going to be a shippers’ market for some time now.”

Jim Prior, divisional vice president for transportation at luxury fashion accessory leader Coach Inc., offered a three-word summation of 2016 – “crisis, consolidation, transformational” – indicating that the new carrier alliances have potential for lifting the industry’s condition from a year in which container lines suffered multibillion-dollar losses.

Elaborating from a carrier point of view, MSC’s Santucci said that, whereas he expects equipment shortages to continue to pose challenges in 2017, he believes capacity imbalance issues will clear up within two to three years.

Santucci dismissed a suggestion that ocean carriers are colluding on rates, saying, “If there was any collusion, the rates wouldn’t be where they are.”

Indeed, MOL’s Craig said, “We compete fiercely with our alliance partners.”

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American Journal of Transportation

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For more than a quarter of a century, Paul Scott Abbott has been writing and shooting images for the American Journal of Transportation, applying four decades of experience as an award-winning journalist.

A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, with a master’s magna cum laude from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Abbott has served as president of chapters of the Propeller Club of the United States, Florida Public Relations Association and Society of Professional Journalists.

Abbott honed his skills on several daily newspapers, including The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Richmond (Va.) News Leader, Albuquerque Journal and (South Florida) Sun-Sentinel, and was editor and publisher of The County Line, a weekly newspaper he founded in suburban Richmond, Va.

A native Chicagoan, he is a member of American Mensa and an ever-optimistic fan of the Chicago Cubs.