There is very little change in the standings of the top 50 container shipping lines despite the worse recession since the Dirty Thirties Depression.
There is very little change in the standings of the top 50 container shipping lines despite the worse recession since the Dirty Thirties Depression. "While a handful of newcomers have emerged since the beginning of the crisis, there have been no major bankruptcies.
Consolidation activity has also been limited, with only two mergers taking place in the last 24 months - both relatively small acquisitions of feeder operators," said the agency's most recent newsletter.
Containerships OY acquired Turkish operator Contaz in March 2009 while Unifeeder acquired the Baltic short sea operator IMCL in November 2009, said the report.
There were five new entries into the Alphaliner Top 50 in the last 24 months, the biggest being China's state-owned Hainan PO Shipping and Grand China Shipping, with backing from Hainan provincial interests.
Hainan PO has been particularly aggressive since it started in January 2009, building a fleet of 16 containerships totalling 30,000 TEU on routes in China, south east Asia, Australia and the US.
Five carriers dropped out of the Top 50 league, it said, among them, Maruba-CLAN, United Feeder Services, Delphis, Heung-A and Fesco, but they are still operating.
"Maruba suffered the biggest fall, dropping 44 places from 28th to 72nd in our rankings over the past two years as its fleet has been decimated by the well publicised financial difficulties Maruba has been facing since last year," said the report.
Maruba's future appears on a willingness of the Argentine to support a bailout, which in turn depends on the acquiescence of the local unions. Russia's FESCO saved itself through an asset sale of Russian port operator NCC.
Of the 13 carriers that have quit the liner trades since 2008, only one was from the Top 50: Shandong Yantai International Marine Shipping (SYMS), was ranked 44th before it ceased trading in August 2008. A part of SYMS's fleet was taken over by Grand China Shipping.
The list also indicated that some of the smaller operators in the Top 50 list have been less affected by the global downturn with a few reporting profits in 2009.
Aarhus-based Unifeeder leads this group with an operating profit of $55.8 million in 2009.