Carriers Form Alliances to Improve Services

Great Western Steamship Co., Maruba Line and U.S. Lines Ltd. have joined in a Vessel Sharing Agreement to which each of the carriers will contribute tonnage. The new service is called Americas Alliance initially consists of five 2,100 TEU vessels, the first of which – the Oder Trader – sailed from Shekou/Shanghai on Sunday, February 27 for LA/Long Beach.

Americas Alliance looks to quickly add to its weekly, fixed-day service, with specific plans for an additional transpacific string to begin in the second quarter of 2006. That fixed-day service would be from both north and south China ports to U.S. Pacific Northwest ports in addition to LA/Long Beach.

The Alliance has begun discussion of initiating service between north and south China ports to U.S. Gulf and Eastern ports – which would include service to the West coast of South America – to begin in the second or third quarters of 2006.

LTL carrier, Pitt Ohio Express acquired a partnership in truckload carrier, ECM Transport with its service primarily in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio markets. Pitt Ohio services the entire mid-Atlantic region, including Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia as well as Detroit and Chicago.

Chuck Hammel, president of Pitt Ohio, notes that customers of both companies will be able to access either truckload or LTL service through one channel. Advantages for both companies – neither of which expects to make any major changes in its operations – will come in synergies between the two and savings in administrative costs, among other opportunities.

ECM operates 450 tractors, 1,500 trailers and 45 dry-bulk tankers. It uses 50 owner-operators. Pitt Ohio’s fleet includes 650 tractors, 350 straight trucks and 1,500 trailers.

“On one hand we can help Pitt Ohio’s line haul operation by leveling out the peaks and valleys in freight volume so they run fewer empties,” notes Edward Meier, ECM president. “At the same time, Pitt Ohio has an excellent sales force in place that can help ECM find freight in areas where we need to balance our lanes. It’s a win-win situation for both companies.”

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