‘Be careful what you wish for’ was in essence the warning delivered to those shippers who seek an end to liner alliances by a container analyst at the TOC Container Supply Chain event in Rotterdam this week.

Malaysia’s Westports Holdings saw first half throughput drop 4.3% to 4.5m teu from 4.7m teu in the first six months of 2017 as liner industry changes continued to impact on volumes, although the situation is stabilizing, the port operator said in a stock market announcement.

The service provided by container shipping lines has deteriorated since 2016 and is now seen by exporters, importers and freight forwarders as more problematic, but performance in terms of sustainability/green and carrier financial stability has improved, according to the second annual shipper satisfaction survey by Drewry and the European Shippers’ Council (ESC).

Global schedule reliability of container lines deteriorated by 8.4 percentage points to 74.5% in 2017, down from 82.9% in 2016, according to SeaIntel Maritime Analysis.

As expected Malaysian container terminal operator Westports saw its 2017 throughput slammed by realignments in the liner industry, with overall container throughput falling 9% to 9.02m teu.

Once powerful liner conferences would seem to be going the way of the dodo as the container shipping industry under goes major transformation.

Cosco Shipping Ports saw third quarter throughput rise 16.6% to 23.10m teu from 19.81m teu in the previous corresponding period.

Strong growth in Europe, and gains from alliance traffic as well as better productivity have contributed to a 10.1% increase to 10.2m teu in container throughput at the Port of Rotterdam in the first nine months of the year.

The Port of Rotterdam has benefitted from the investments in infrastructure it put in place ahead of the recovery in Asia-Europe volumes while also gaining from the re-alignment of the alliances and rise of the ultra large container vessels.

Ports having to deal with mega-vessels potentially have to face all the challenges but with little of the upside from any increase in call size.

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