The Singapore National Shippers’ Council has expressed concern as liner alliances are becoming increasingly powerful.
Maersk Line has a vessel-sharing arrangement with Mediterranean Shipping Company, and CMA CGM, United Arab Shipping Company, and China Shipping Container Lines comprise the Ocean Three alliance. Meanwhile, Orient Overseas Container Line, Mitsui OSK Lines, NYK Line, Hyundai Merchant Marine, American President Lines, and Hapag Lloyd form the G6 alliance. Then there is the CKYHE alliance, formed by COSCO, ‘K’ Line, Yang Ming, Hanjin Shipping, and Evergreen.
Council chairman John Lu said after the body’s annual general meeting on 18 May that the alliances continue to expand their capacity, creating a worrying development.
Lu said, “Today, all major carriers in the east-west trades are in one of four alliances, a development unprecedented in the liner shipping industry.
“This is cause for concern for shippers as the liner industry is possibly the only industry which enjoys immunity from prosecution under anti-trust laws for collective agreements.”
As a review of the Block Exemption Order is imminent, Lu called on the Competition Commission of Singapore to drop the order from the city-state’s Competition Act.