Lunes 22 de Octubre del 2018

Battle of the container niche brands

CMA CGM has acquired Mercosul from Maersk Line - a sale Maersk Line had to perform in order to gain approval for the acquisition of Hamburg Süd.

All in all this creates a unique "battlefield" between Maersk Line and CMA CGM which have both opted for a strategy using multiple niche brands - as opposed to the other main global carriers which have either abstained completely from multi-brand strategies or are only using it very sparingly.

With the Mercosul transition, Maersk and CMA CGM will both be operating groups consisting of 8 different brands each. For Maersk this is comprised by Maersk Line, Safmarine, MCC, Seago, Sealand, Hamburg Süd, Alianca and CCNI. For CMA CGM this is comprised by CMA CGM, APL, ANL, Cheng Lie, MacAndrews, OPDR, CoMaNav and Mercosul.

These multi-brand strategies stand in stark contrast to e.g. the approach seen by Hapag-Lloyd where the elimination of niche brands in favor of a single simplified approach have been de rigeur since the acquisition of multi-brand CP Ships more than 10 years ago.

It also stands in contrast to the decades-long strategy pursued by MSC to purely grow organically - a strategy which has been reconfirmed by Diego Aponte in a recent interview with Lloyds List.

Going forward it will be interesting to see how the competitive dynamics between single versus multibrand strategies will evolve. At the core this is about weighting the simplicity - and hence operational efficiency - of a single brand, versus the opportunity to tap into presumably better paying niche cargo at the "cost" of higher managerial complexity.

In this context, it will be equally interesting to see how the "battle" between Maersk and CMA CGM will shape up in terms of a head-to-head competition on who is most adept at leveraging their large portfolios of niche brands, and therefore also who is best able to handle the management challenges which invariably comes with a multi-brand strategy.

Fuente: Lars Jensen

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