Vessel Sharing Agreements

With the economy struggling in recent years, the shipping industry has been seeing more and more cut backs which have sometimes led to more efficient shipping. Vessel sharing agreements have become a part of this. Vessel sharing only makes sense since it means that container shipping companies are getting together to share space on their ships to allow for higher capacity. The vessel sharing agreements or "VSA"'s have become more of a standard practice as shipping lines fight their lower capacities in certain trade lanes. As a result, many shippers are finding out that their containers are not going on the ships they thought they would. The good part is that their rates, contacts and contracts do not change with these agreements. It seems VSA's are actually good for the shipping industry. Since they are between the carriers outside of their customer's, the agreements allow for the shipping lines to keep freight costs lower since they do not need to account for empty spaces on their ships. These agreements are also better for the environment since there are less unnecessary ships giving off pollutants into the air. For shippers, these agreements should not affect much except that they may be paying a different rate for the same commodity on the same vessel as one of their competitors. Unfortunately there is very little they can do about that except be diligent in their shopping for rates. Overall, VSA's have enabled more competition without as much strain on the steamship lines. With so many parts of the shipping industry struggling to survive, these smart VSA's have become a necessary element to keep international cargo moving.