UASC may be about to make new major alliance move

A new “third force” in the shipping alliance game, led by UASC, may be in the early stages of formation, suggests US Federal Maritime Commissioner William Doyle.
Hapag and UASC have separately announced discussions towards a cooperative agreement, potentially leading to a merger of the two lines.
Hapag and UASC have separately announced discussions towards a cooperative agreement, potentially leading to a merger of the two lines.

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A new “third force” in the shipping alliance game, led by UASC, may be in the early stages of formation, suggests US Federal Maritime Commissioner William Doyle.

Doyle hinted at a media dinner that major shipping lines disrupted by the formation of the new Ocean Alliance may be seeking to partner with one another to counter the dominance of the Ocean Alliance and 2M (Maersk Line and MSC).

"Of the original alliances, [the formation of the Ocean Alliance] leaves eight companies in the balance. I can tell you that by the end of next week there is a likelihood that another new alliance will be announced,” he said. “I will be meeting with ocean carrier representatives next. It may not include all of the remaining eight carriers, but it could eventually," he said.

The potential partners excluded from Ocean Alliance include UASC, K Line, Yang Ming, Hanjin, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, MOL and NYK.

Hapag and UASC have separately announced discussions towards a cooperative agreement, potentially leading to a merger of the two lines.

Analysts say that as spot rates for container freight are expected to remain depressed this year, alliances are especially important to carriers for pooling of resources and utilization of the largest, most efficient ships.

Maersk Group CEO Nils Andersen has gone so far as to suggest that shipping lines left out of major ocean alliances may be forced to abandon their long-haul routes altogether and focus on regional feeder networks.

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