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Recent mega mergers and acquisitions are affecting the global water transportation scenario in a big way. Key areas affected are destination ports and transhipment hubs. A transformation in logistics chains is also expected. New routes are expected to open as competition between the big players intensifies, resulting in strategic alliances between shipping lines and ports. Bigger players will enjoy increased bargaining power and container business will move to terminals preferred by these respective players.

Important factor impacting the water transportation industry is the ever increasing ship sizes. The 10,000 TEU vessels are already here. Fewer and larger players continue to emerge, as port operators and their privatisation lead to potential for M&A activity. Increasing involvement of the private sector is already providing the necessary capital and technical expertise, while new technology is bound to give rise to new opportunities. According to industry experts, if the current performance and utilisation levels by ports and shipping companies are maintained, then by 2007, additional port capacity will have to be created in order to meet forecasted global demand. In fact, a doubling of port capacity might be required by 2012.

There will be continuous pressure to increase ship sizes further. There will be an increase in container vessel speeds resulting in faster voyages and pressure to maximise berth productivity and shorter port stay. Also expected in the future will be the integration of ports with other transport modes for hinterland support and finally the concentration of ownership of shipping lines and ports in a few hands. Shipping lines may finally be seen to be creating their own port capacity to meet demand.

Companies from all transport sectors are increasing their global reach as they move beyond traditional geographies to grow their businesses. The challenges posed by the current economic climate, tougher competitive environments and regulatory changes require the very best professional service providers dedicated to helping these companies succeed.