LONDON, Jun 20 (FAM) – Japanese container line grouping Ocean Network Express (ONE) is on course to start operations on 1 April 2018 and will become the world’s fifth-largest box carrier – and potentially a more dominant influence within shipping consortium THE Alliance – if the current containership orderbook remains unchanged, according to Drewry.

The container shipping analyst said carrier consolidation was “moving apace” with the merger of the three Japanese container lines, noting that the opportunities for further mergers and acquisitions (M&A) among the top-20 carriers “receding with each new deal”. Nevertheless, Drewry said that a second wave involving medium-size carriers will follow soon, creating a market “with fewer carriers that in time will become financially stronger”.