There’s no denying that the global maritime industry has had a turbulent 18 months.
Because of the pandemic, cargo volumes have plummeted and growth prospects have been hindered, not helped by the enormous uncertainty that accompanies the world’s efforts to recover from the pandemic.
Despite the gloom, UNCTAD expects maritime trade growth to return to positive territory and expand by 4.8% in 2021, assuming world economic output recovers. However, the organization highlights the need for the maritime transport industry to brace for change and be well prepared for a transformed post-COVID-19 world.
Studies of major shipping lines’ commercial and strategic activities can provide insight into the overall industry.
Fusions and acquisitions are sending mixed signals as we approach 2021 and clearly portray a picture of fluctuating fortunes.
Damco and Diamond S Shipping dissolve
Damco’s air and ocean less-than-container-load shipping will be integrated into Maersk’s wider business in September 2020, effectively erasing the brand it merged with Maersk Line at the start of 2019.
The move was part of series of strategic plays by CEO Soren Skou that are geared toward a central goal of becoming an integrated logistics company that provides end-to-end solutions for its customers.
The combined company will have around 2,200 employees and a market value of around $2 billion, and it will be headquartered in New York City.
K-Alliance and Hapag-Lloyd show brighter prospects
As a result of a massive code-sharing agreement in South Korea, the K-Alliance, several shipping firms’ competitiveness in Southeast Asia is expected to be backed.
The move sees several enterprises joining forces–HMM, SM Line, Pan Ocean and the recently merged Sinokor Merchant Marine and Heung-A Line–with the intention of reducing operating costs and increasing quality of services.
Whether it is the move by giants such as Maersk to combine forwarding and carrier services, or the clear vote of confidence shown by Hapag-Lloyd in the African market, the dice are starting to be rolled after the standstill period brought about by COVID-19.