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Keeping our eyes firmly on the ball

Posted on 26 Jun 2017

Keeping our eyes firmly on the ball

The new shipping alliances have been formed and are now operating but monitoring the market place continues to be as important as ever, says Warrant Group's Commercial Director, Steve Cox.

If the last 12 to 18 months have taught us anything at all, it is the importance of keeping our eyes firmly on the ball.

Last year was unprecedented in the shipping sector because of a range of factors: mergers, acquisitions, the collapse of Hanjin and the realignment of the alliances against a backdrop of volatile carrier rates and political upheaval.

The new shipping alliances were formed and have now started operating with what appears to be a full deployment of services with some lines still taking delivery of new vessels.

The '2M+HMM Alliance' comprises Maersk, MSC & HMM, while 'The Alliance' features NYK, MOL, K Line, Yang Ming and Hapag-Lloyd (with UASC); the 'Ocean Alliance' includes CMA CGM, Evergreen, OOCL and COSCO Shipping. There has been recent speculation that COSCO are planning to acquire OOCL while Japanese carriers NYK, MOL, K Line are set to converge under a new name, the Ocean Network Express.

And so far, so good. The team here at Warrant Group has experienced no major issues with boxes arriving in the right port and to the right customer with just a few delays.

The shipping lines' focus remains on revenues however rather than customer relationships; schedule integrity is still only on average 65 to 70 per cent accurate compared to advertised arrivals which then impacts on our customers' supply chains and cost base; customer service and schedule reliability requires some serious focus and greater consideration.

At Warrant Group, we have been able to help protect our customers from market volatility by closely monitoring conditions, conducting regular health checks and using sustainable and reputable suppliers. Analysing carrier reliability alongside other key factors such as schedules and transit times enables us to make informed decisions.

As the instability of the last six to 12 months looks set to continue for the foreseeable future, we continue to protect our clients by balancing risk and providing as much certainty as possible in a difficult and challenging environment.

Steve Cox has spent more than 30 years working in the shipping sector. He was a guest on the biggest mega vessel in the world - OOCL's new 21,413 TEU container ship - when it docked at Felixstowe Port for the first time last week. The call also marked the return of OOCL to Felixstowe Port after a 17 year absence.

Steve enjoyed a tour of the port and the ship, which was built at Samsung Heavy Industries' (SHI) shipyard in Geoje, South Korea. Measuring 400 metres in length and with a width of 58.8 metres, the OOCL Hong Kong serves the Asia-Europe trade lane as part of OOCL's LL1 service.


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