GLOBAL Shippers' Forum (GSF) secretary general Chris Welsh is lobbying for a Maritime Industries Supply Chain Forum to address the problems caused by mega-ships and mega alliances.
Speaking at the International Cargo Handling Co-ordination Association (ICHCA) conference in Barcelona, Mr Welsh wants such a forum address the costs these new phenomena imposts, reports American Shipper.
"The liner shipping industry must address the poor quality of service afforded to shippers since the consolidation of the world's top 20 lines into super alliances [the 2M, Ocean 3, CKYHE and G6]," Mr Walsh told delegates.
Wanting to join, form and dominate another shipping organisation is typical of the GSF, which has not always been on the same side as shippers, but tends to voice pro-regulator views.
In the container mandatory weigh-in controversy, GSF joined the debate not on the shippers side that wanted none of it, but in a petty dispute over which weigh-in system to favour, derailing any discussion on whether weigh-ins should be mandated at all.
GSF has had well publicised disagreements with the European Shippers Council and Asian Shippers' Council, which together formed a rival group called the Global Shippers Alliance.
The Asian Shippers Council (ASC) quit the Global Shippers Forum because of membership rules that would have diluted its vote by allowing smaller regional councils, which it formerly represented, to join as full members.
That left the ASC free to join the European Shippers Council (ESC) in its opposition to mandatory container weigh-ins before loading because of the costs, red tape and lack of clarity over liability.
Mr Welsh said that with the introduction of larger containerships and the consolidation of 16 of the 20 largest shipping lines into four alliances has led to disruption of shippers' supply chains through the bunching of vessels, voided sailings and other delays.
"The received wisdom is that bigger ships and alliances are good for competition because of the benefits they are said to confer," said Mr Welsh.
"If the reality is that they add costs because of the negative externalities they impose on others, and if they restrict choice through reduced service competition, then other regulatory or competition policy approaches may be necessary to deal with the competition issues raised by mega vessels and alliances."
Source : HKSG.