Skip to content

PUBLISHER: Splash247 (

The outrageous container rates between Asia and European and American ports may be what got every shipper in the lather, but it is not what the carriers care about. Their shopping sprees reduced the market to a few networks practically indistinguishable from each other. While they seem to be on a profitable two-year roll, even five years of amazing profits can’t hide the inevitable periods of lower rates and high operating expenses further ahead.

In fact, commoditisation of container transport has not abated in response to the pandemic. It is a cruel process of ever larger companies trying to divide the market any way they can by any possible differentiation. Forget differentiating with digitalisation. The carrier folks know that assets-based game and they know, mostly, the assets needed to move the cargo from the land origin to the land destination. In the very cosy club of today, no action goes without reaction.

Strangely enough, with enough business missteps in their history to fill up an encyclopaedia of shipping, Maersk continues to be the most watched company of them all. Maersk buys ultra big ships? All others jump in, even outdoing the original first mover. Maersk re-integrates the carcass of Damco to bring capacity and capacity consolidator together? CMA CGM responds with acquisition of CEVA. Shortly after, MSC acquires Bollore. Not to be outdone, Maersk responds by acquiring LF Logistics. Did I mention Maersk adding aircraft to offer options to shippers in the hurry? MSC tries to buy one too.

Read more…