July 30, 2021

Fact check: Australia benefits from plentiful container shipping

Graphic credit: Jim Wilson and, via Pixabay, images from Kookay and Gerd Altmann

It’s just a fact: Australia benefits from a high level of container shipping connectivity, from access to plentiful shipping services, and from access to a wide range of container shipping brands and services.

Liner Shipping Connectivity has NEVER been higher

Australia’s liner shipping connectivity is at the highest level since UNCTAD began recording data in Q1 2006. 

Don’t just take our word for it. You can see it for yourself (see the graph below “Liner Shipping Connectivity Index (Australia) Q1 2006 – Q1 2021”).

Sure, while there have been ups and downs in Australian liner shipping connectivity, you can see that the overall trend over time has been for increasing connectivity (see red dotted line-of-best-fit).

There’s a lot more to be said… and much of which we’ve already said in “Supply chain: UNCTAD data, once again, proves that liner shipping is adaptable and resilient to disruption“.

Connectivity is one of the most important metrics

Connectivity is so important because it facilitates trade. It enables overseas suppliers to get their goods to here from practically any part of the world and for Australian exporters to get their goods from here to any part of the world too.

Even if there isn’t a direct service from Melbourne to, say, Beira, which is the capital city of Mozambique, international container shipping can get a container from here to there. A shipping container could be exported on an Australia to south east Asia service, transhipped at Singapore or Port Klang (Malaysia), then sent across the Indian Ocean to, say, Salalah (Oman), where it would be transhipped again on a container service south to Mozambique.

So it’s important to remember that even a few shipping lines to / from Australia open the Australian economy to the whole world!

We’ll talk more below about international liner shipping services.

Australasia and Oceania has many, many, many liner services!

A “service” is typically a regularly scheduled sailing by container ships between a given set of ports. One container shipping company could offer one service, or it could offer many services.

According to the World Shipping Council, a global representative body for international liner shipping, there are over 80 liner services that are Australasia & Oceania related!

The WSC statement quotes data from internationally respected maritime analyst firm, Alphaliner.

Read the WSC statement here.

Many shipping lines call at Australia!

Traders to / from Australia have a choice of many different shipping brands offering container shipping services to / from Australia. Sometimes different brands are able to co-operate by allowing containers booked through company “A” to sail on a ship provided by company “B”, which helps maintain the continuity of shipping services to Australia.

Incidentally, liner shipping companies are able to do this because they have a special exemption from Australian Competition Law to ensure that Australian exporters have continued access to outwards liner cargo shipping services of adequate frequency and reliability at freight rates that are internationally competitive. This kind of exemption is seen elsewhere in the world too.

So, how many container shipping brand have services to / from at Australia? There are at least 23. There may be more.

  1. ANL
  2. CMA CGM
  3. COSCO
  4. Evergreen
  5. Gold Star Line
  6. Hamburg Sud
  7. Hapag Lloyd
  8. HMM
  9. Maersk
  10. Marfret
  11. Mariana Express Lines
  12. Matson
  13. Mediterranean Shipping Company
  14. Neptune Pacific
  15. ONE
  16. OOCL
  17. Pacific Asia Express
  18. Pacific Forum Line
  19. SinoTrans
  20. T S Lines
  21. Yang Ming
  22. Zim
  23. Sea Lead (due to start March 2022)

There are several non-container liner shipping brands which both carry general cargo and that also call at Australia. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Armacup
  • Austral Asia Line
  • BBC Charterting
  • Hong Fa
  • Spliethoff
  • Swire
  • Toyfuji Shipping
  • Wallenius

There are also many, many non-container and non-general cargo ships carrying cargo such as dry bulk commodities (grain, iron ore etc) and liquid bulks (e.g. chemicals, liquid gas) and so on.

International shipping services and companies

There are so many international shipping services and companies working in the world today. Let’s have a look at just how many there are…

Total number of services in the world: 1,951
(Source: World Shipping Council / Alphaliner)

Shipping companies working in the world: at least 100!
(Source: Alphaliner)

FACT CHECK CONCLUSION:

There are many ocean shipping companies. Ocean shipping is very competitive in Australia, as, indeed, it is around the world. Customers have a wide choice of shipping companies and shipping services. There is a high level of ocean going container shipping service connectivity to / from the Australia and the rest of the world.

Any allegations to the contrary are incorrect.

[NOTE: updated 30 January 2022 to include Sea Lead; updated 09 February 2022 to add Mariana Express Lines of Singapore and Toyfuji Shipping]

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