GSF calls for international forum to address challenges

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The Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) has called for the establishment of a maritime industries supply chain forum on a international scale to ‘address the full range of challenges facing the [shipping]sector’.

It said that the liner shipping industry must ‘urgently address the poor quality of service afforded to shippers since the consolidation of the world’s top 20 lines into ‘super alliances’.

“The onus is on the shipping industry to demonstrate that the bigger ships and alliance business model is the best response to the economic and financial challenges faced by carriers but also adds value to customers,” said Chris Welsh, secretary general of the GSF. “We believe cooperation between the main international stakeholders in a new maritime industries forum would enable the wider maritime supply chain to develop solutions to the problems presented by bigger ships and alliances in a constructive and consensual manner.

“The received wisdom is that bigger ships and alliances are good for competition because of the benefits they are said to confer.

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.”

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