Are Mid-Size Niche Carriers Looking to Consolidate?

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The use of midsize niche carriers has grown exponentially in the last six months. They have deployed 12.8 percent more capacity so far this year, according to the 321st edition of the SeaIntel Sunday Spotlight by SeaIntel Maritime Analysis.

This growth is not attributed to an increase in carrying capacity. Instead, it is due to an augmented amount of vessels being operated. “This additional vessel deployment can only have been driven by a desire to launch additional new services,” SeaIntel said. It seems midsize carriers, such as Sinotrans and SITC International Holdings Company are attempting to close the gap between themselves and A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A (MSC), and CMA CGM Group; the “mega shippers” of the industry. In the year 2000, the top five ocean liners controlled 35 percent of the world’s container capacity. By 2008 that had increased to 46 percent and by October 2016 55 percent of the world’s capacity measured in TEUs was in the hands of the top five container lines, according to Goldman Sachs Research.  

It is possible niche midsize carriers are aiming to expand the services they offer in order to gain market share and relevancy in the global spectrum. Opening new trade routes with vessels offering reefer containers between South America and Europe might help bolster market share and broaden their playing field.  Mid-sized carriers might begin to consolidate in the near future, causing larger carriers to start a price war with the goal of forcing the carriers out of the market.


Juan Lacouture for the South Florida District Export Council