Maersk is one step closer to its proposed merger with Hamburg Sud. It required an agreement for Hamburg Sud to drop out of five other alliances it was a part of when the deal closes, possibly by the end of 2017. Radical reorganization of the alliances is going to play havoc with shippers’ plans, of course, and require new contracts all around. The transaction costs to shippers will be substantial. And no one will defray this burden, unless Maersk and the other alliances cut rates accordingly to help convince shippers to go through the change.
Long term it might benefit shippers. But in the shorter run it’s hard to see how.
There are still four countries that need to approve the deal, so it will be a while before we learn all the fallout from the merger.