В редакционной статье поднимается широко обсуждаемая тема создания альянса между фирмами Maersk, MSC и CMA-CGM — Р3. Возможное влияние этого альянса в долгосрочной перспективе на качество услуг перевозчиков грузовладельцам, а также его экономические последствия остаются недостаточно ясными, однако некоторые грузовладельцы выражают беспокойство тем, что упомянутый альянс слишком большой и может способствовать вытеснению с рынка меньших предприятий, пока что вполне конкурентоспособных.
THE PROPOSED P3 alliance between Maersk, MSC and CMA-CGM raises more questions than it answers.
A fundamental one is will the vessel sharing arrangements, which involve a fleet of 255 ships with a total capacity of 2.6m teu operating 27 service loops, actually deliver the efficiency, reliability and price stability that shippers are said to desire? Can this operational alliance provide this or is this just cleverly constructed ‘spin’ from the alliance delivered with arms’ length assistance?
Underpinning this of course — and widely acknowledged to be the main objective of the alliance — is the ability to control capacity. The control of capacity is a fundamental step on the road to achieving freight rate stability which, in turn, means having the ability to influence market pricing. All three alliance members emphasise that functions such as sales and marketing will be undertaken independently of each other. But to what extent will this be the case if you are operating in the same framework? Or as other commentators have put it, how will the three parties be able to differentiate their product?
Drewry Maritime Research has stated in reaction to the announcement of P3 that «the initiative must be considered a welcome one for the industry since it will help reduce carrier costs and stabilise the market». Drewry, however, has long had a bee in its bonnet about the liner industry’s inability to meaningfully control capacity — and the resulting pricing indiscipline — and this begs the question when Drewry refers to the «industry», is it the liner industry that it has uppermost in mind? It does acknowledge that P3 will accelerate the trend towards «lack of differentiation of services in container shipping which is something that will continue to worry shippers».
The bottom line has to be what can such an initiative do to promote the interests of cargo shippers, to boost service quality?
Up until recently the response from shipper bodies has been relatively low key but as the P3 grouping marches on with its plans to set up operational centres in London and Singapore there are growing signs from both shipper and regulatory bodies of the need to comprehensively scrutinise the P3 proposal. The Asian Shippers Council has been quite forthright, recently stating that P3 is «too big» and that it will lead to the early exit of smaller players from the sector thereby reducing shipper choice.
History does seem to indicate cause for concern. Where one party or combination of parties have in the past grown into dominant capacity positions in certain trades then this has resulted in the exit of smaller entities. The smaller concerns are not just in an uncompetitive position from a capacity/slot cost point of view but usually also in terms of port and terminal costs and operating arrangements. Bit by bit they get squeezed out.
There is also the fear, voiced by ASC, that a new large scale entity like P3 will try to be matched by competitors leading to a further deterioration in the demand/supply balance in the liner industry and thus ongoing volatility.
Given the emergence of these sort of concerns on the public stage — and doubtless more behind the scenes — the initiative of Mario Cordero, chairman, US Federal Maritime Commission to invite regulators in China and European Union to Washington to discuss P3 is to be welcomed. Also significant was the comment of his fellow commissioner Richard A. Lidinsky Jr, who stated: «It is clear this alliance is moving forward as if it has met regulatory approval despite the lack of any significant filing with regulatory authorities in Europe, China or the US. Pushing behind the scenes and placing stories with the press is not a substitute for proper consideration of the consequences of this massive alignment.»
The potential impact of P3 is far reaching and as such there should be proper, coordinated scrutiny among the involved regulatory bodies with a major focus on wiping away the grey areas and answering the many unanswered questions.
Источник: Portstrategy. — 3013. — December. — P. 50.