Liner shipping alliances were created years ago when there wasn’t enough containerized cargo for many competing ocean container carriers (sometimes called liners). They have evolved through time, a bit, but still allow several ocean carriers to band together to serve a particular route.
For instance, from Shanghai to LA and return, an alliance might provide weekly service. The companies then rotate in providing that ship for the service. If you book with one of thecompanies, you don’t know whose ship will be carrying the cargo, but it will be one of the members of the alliance. If everything goes smoothly and there are no delays, it should notmatter to the shipper whose ship they are on.
Alliances go by clever names such as THE Alliance (Hapag-Lloyd, ONE, & Yang Ming). Here’s a summary of facts about alliances, including who’s in each.
But when disruptions occur, as now, and ships don’t sail on schedule either because they are postponed by the line, or because of congestion in either the loading port or the unloading port, it becomes a problem.
The article outlines some of the complaints. Alliances have to be authorized by the specific counbtry they dock in. There is actually a bill in the US Congress to suggest that the FMC (Federal Maritime Commission) be given stronger powers to investigate problems and push the alliances to provide fair service to all customers.
By Nick Savvides 06/09/2021NITL claims alliances create ‘super-carrier distortion’ to liner shipping market – The Loadstar