Ocean Network Express (ONE) has published details of its Day ONE network of services outside those offered on east-west routes via membership of THE Alliance.

ONE said that from 1 April, more than 200 container vessels would be deployed on the regional trades of intra-Asia, Latin America, Oceania and Africam connecting more than 200 ports.

The Loadstar understands that the number of ships previously deployed separately by K Line, MOL and NYK on these tradelanes has been significantly reduced by the merger.

And the Japanese carriers are preparing to start taking bookings this week under the ONE bill of lading for vessel departures in April. On Thursday the booking sector of the ONE website will go live, enabling bookings to be made for ONE voyages.

ONE explained that the transition of bookings from the current ‘legacy 3J lines’ to the new entity would not take place globally on a single date, but rather on a voyage-by-voyage basis, “dependent upon specific origin”.

However, it added, after 19 April all bookings would be via the ONE office network.

In a progress update, ONE said all management level appointments were complete and the “process of selection and transition of manpower is progressing well”.

It added that it would be boosting its “customer-facing resource” this month, “enabling us to increasingly provide a definitive answer to customer questions concerning points of contact”.

Indeed, some forwarders The Loadstar has spoken to this month have remarked on a need for clarity on their commercial contact points.

There are also many operational procedures that the three lines must determine, fine-tune and migrate to ONE, including port agency systems and, not least, VGM submissions.

One operational contact told The Loadstar in Felixstowe last week that a consequence of the merger was that the new organisation itself must decide on “who to hire and who to fire”, whereas the Japanese lines individually were represented by three port agency firms.

Although the staff at K Line, MOL and NYK know each other well, they are hugely proud of their own organisations and it will be a challenging few months for the ONE management to blend the selected staff into the new set-up.

A merger or takeover of shipping lines is a massive administrational task, but merging three container lines into one is unchartered water for the industry. Container lines know what their competitors are carrying and who their customers are, and rivals of the Japanese lines will be circling to take advantage of any weakness in the transition to ONE.

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