I disagree with Drewry. The carriers went ahead with the mega ships, so why and how does the Chinese disallowing the P3 alliance affected? If the alliance was so important, why didn't the carriers do this earlier, before ordering all the big ships? Why didn't carriers stop pandering to demands for cheap rates and market share? Blaming not approving the P3 seems weak, off target, and lets the carriers off the hook their actions.
Scuttling P3 could postpone container industry recovery
“The unexpected decision effectively inhibits the carriers’ ability to reduce costs by pooling assets and controlling over-capacity, but the news will be good for their competitors and ports, despite not stopping the three from working together in other areas.”
Drewry said while the three carriers would have benefited from the P3, “Maersk and CMA CGM are already industry unit cost and profit leaders without P3, and will continue to outperform others in this respect. MSC’s financial results are not published, so it is not possible to say if they are in the same position, but it is probably similar.”
The three carriers could conceivably press ahead with plans to merge services in the transatlantic since the Chinese do not regulate that trade and U.S. and European regulators did not block the P3. Drewry also noted the Chinese did not block existing bilateral and trilateral services of the P3 carriers in the transpacific and Asia-North Europe and Asia-Mediterranean trades.
“They might even be allowed to form a tri-lateral consortium in the transpacific, as their current 20-percent market share of effective eastbound vessel capacity to the West Coast alone is well below the G6’s 34 percent,” said Drewry. “This would enable them to deploy surplus ULCVs from the Asia/Europe trade lane on the route, and cascade the displaced vessels into other services, which may well have been envisaged at the outset of P3.”
Drewry said, “Filling the new 18,000-TEU ships without the ability to pool assets and volumes will be much harder, other solutions will have to be found, including the greater use of pendulum services. Without this, the lines will find it difficult to achieve high utilization rates, thus under-achieving the vessels’ economies of scale. This will be particularly challenging to Maersk between Asia and Northern Europe, and to MSC between Asia and the Mediterranean, due to their lack of partners.”