Alliances in have been around in shipping for decades but there has been a seismic shift in the various alliances over the past 3 years or so. For a long time, Maersk Line and MSC did not participate in any major alliances because they were much bigger than their rivals and so had no need to share vessels on a large scale (they did participate in some smaller Vessel Sharing Agreements (VSA’s) but they were always the dominant partner in these VSA’s, so they could never really be called alliances.
An alliance in container shipping is pretty much the same as is seen in the aviation industry. Why does Singapore Airlines want to be part of the Star Alliance Network? Simple, it means that they can offer flights to many more destinations than they actually fly to themselves. You can book your flight from Singapore to Berlin but it’s likely that you’ll actually fly to Munich or Frankfurt with