Facing another year of overcapacity and moderate volume growth prospects, something had to the change within the container line industry. Long-hoped-for consolidation wasn't in the cards, and carriers' pursuit of greater economies of scale through ever-larger vessels accelerated. Enter the mega vessel-sharing alliances.
The three largest global container lines in June announced plans to operate a VSA of unprecedented scale on the Asia-Europe, trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic lanes.
By consolidating their services around fewer but larger ships, Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM aim to bring down their per-container costs, giving the carriers an advantage over lines operating smaller ships.
The alliance would have a dominant share on the three east-west trades: 42 percent in Asia-Europe, 40 to 42 percent in the trans-Atlantic and 24 percent in the trans-Pacific. In response, …
Over the past half-century the most profound influence upon the great majority of humankind has been the vast and gentle decline in the size of families.
In 2014 (or thereabouts—such things are approximate) this huge change will reach a milestone.
In the world’s most populous continent, Asia, the total fertility rate will fall to 2.1.
The rate is the number of children a woman can expect to bear during her lifetime and 2.1 is a magic number because, if sustained, it produces long-term equilibrium in the population (it is known as the replacement rate).
In 1960 Asia’s average fertility was 5.8.
The exact point at which fertility reaches replacement cannot be known for sure. The United Nations Population Division thinks it will happen at some point during 2015-20. But Chinese demographers think the UN is significantly overestimating China’s fertility rate, so 2014 is a reasonable guess.