The major ocean carriers tasked with shipping your containers around the world operate within a number of alliances. These alliances allow them to pool together vessels and shipping routes in order to expand their service around the world. Previously, ocean carriers operated as part of 4 alliances. Starting April 1st, 2017 carriers restructured themselves into just 3 alliances.On April 1st, the alliances will change to:
- The Alliance: NYK, MOL, K Line, Yang Ming, Hapag-Lloyd
- Ocean Alliance: CMA CGM, Evergreen, OOCL, APL, COSCO Shipping
- 2M Alliance: Maersk and MSC
The biggest benefit of shipping alliances is they allow carriers to ship each others containers on their vessels. It keeps ships at capacity, and offers more frequent service. Instead of a carrier operating numerous ships on one route, they run a single ship of their own, and ship the rest of their containers using vessels belonging to other carriers within the alliance.