After last week’s analysis of THE Alliance’s slow and irregular updates on upcoming services, this week we’re taking a look at the other new alliance set to start sailing on 1 April: Ocean Alliance, consisting of CMA CGM, Evergreen Line, China COSCO Shipping, and Overseas Orient Container Lines.
CMA CGM, as the third largest liner in the world, has taken the lead on what is now container shipping’s biggest alliance to date. The company will be deploying 119 of the alliance’s 323 ships and, along with its subsidiary APL, has led the way when it comes to keeping customers informed about the upcoming service changes.
To be fair, the changes have not been so dramatic; the current Ocean Alliance offering is almost identical to what was announced way back in November with just one service, the MED4, being cut since. And now that CMA CGM is working with more and different partners compared to the old Ocean Three alliance, the new alliance members are able to offer a much larger number of services.
The Ocean Alliance will offer 40 services around the world, compared to just 21 handled by the Ocean Three. The biggest difference is in transpacific trade, where the Ocean Alliance has 13 rather than 6 loops to West Coast North America and an extra loop on the Asia-ECNA trade.
In stark contrast to THE Alliance, CMA CGM’s new brochure, released at the beginning of February, already included not just ports of call but also terminals and the time spent at each port, as well as transit times. Unfortunately, the exact vessel deployment still missing here, but the number of vessels and TEU capacity have been included for each trade, so shippers can at least get a sense of the average size of a vessel on a particular trade.
Most importantly, it seems the quality of services will be improved with this new alliance. CMA CGM boasts of fast transit times and unique direct links between ports in many of its new services. In its February newsletter, CargoSmart took a closer look at such claims and while their data encompasses both Ocean and THE Alliances as compared to the old CYKHE, G6, and Ocean 3 alliances, they found that 50% of transpacific and 47% of transatlantic transit times will be faster with the new alliances.
As we get nearer to the launch of two new shipping alliances, Ocean Alliance has made a strong effort to ensure its customers are up-to-date on when exactly changes will be taking place. APL this week released various updates on its final sailings for different trades:
- Trans-Pacific Market: OCEAN ALLIANCE first sailings, Existing services last sailings
- Asia-Europe Market: OCEAN ALLIANCE first sailings, Existing services last sailings
- Asia-Mediterranean Market: OCEAN ALLIANCE first sailings, Existing services last sailings
- Intra-Asia Market: OCEAN ALLIANCE first sailings, Existing services last sailings
It’s clear that the Ocean Alliance has already shown a commitment to transparency and the timely delivery of information well before its first services set sail. Shippers can only hope they’ll continue to receive a high level of customer service from both new alliances during and after the many changes that they will have to endure come the beginning of April.
You can see all the new Ocean Alliance services in the eeSea database by clicking on “Search” in the Services module, then checking OCEAN under “Alliance” and selecting Future proforma version. As mentioned, the previously announced MED4 service has been excluded from CMA CGM and APL’s brochures, but we include it in our database as it is still listed on OOCL’s website.
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