The enhancement of operational efficiency and the stabilization of ocean freight have played a key role to survive in an unpredictable shipping market environment. For liner shipping carriers these are important factors to save cost in terms of finance and to provide reliable service to their customers.
Liner shipping carriers have made constant efforts to improve their service quality in various ways. However it has currently faced fierce competition with other shipping carriers across the world. Especially for the leading container carriers which have engaged in delivery punctuality and lower freight rates, the global liner shipping market has entered the era of limitless competition.
To survive in the competitive liner shipping market, liner carriers need to consider their own operational efficiency as well as productivity. In this sense the cooperation with other carriers continues to play a central role in the operation and long-term viability of each company. Therefore they engage in various forms of cooperative agreements in their liner service routes.
In the face of fierce competition, Korean container carriers failed to join the trend of globalization and lost its competitiveness due to inadequacy of the government shipping policy and lack of strategic preparation of themselves in the continuous recession of global container market.
However, after bankrupt of Hanjin Shipping and management crisis of HMM(Hyundai Merchant Marine), some Korean container carriers have established a strategic alliance, called 'HMM+K2(Korea Together)' to overcome the future uncertainty against the global alliances among major container carriers.
In the previous alliance literatures most of studies have investigated alliance objectives, types, and expected outcomes. However few studies have deeply examined the benefits of operational and cost saving with internal data of alliance companies. Therefore this research attempts to investigate the case of expected performance of HMM+K2 alliance based on alliance theories. In addition, this research suggests the development scheme of Korean liner shipping alliance using a questionnaire survey and in-depth interview of CEO of shipping companies, port & logistics companies and relevant associations as well as experts in research and education institutions.