A liner agreement, also known as a vessel sharing agreement (VSA), is a legally binding contract between two or more shipping companies, also known as liner operators, that allows them to share space on each other`s ships to transport cargo.
In simpler terms, liner operators use this agreement to combine or share their cargo loads in order to decrease transportation costs and increase efficiency. The liner agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the collaboration, including the routes, ports of call, schedules, cargo types, and revenue sharing arrangements.
The liner agreement is crucial to the shipping industry because it enables smaller operators to compete with larger ones by providing them with the necessary resources to offer more comprehensive and cost-effective services. For instance, a liner operator with a smaller fleet can enter into an agreement with a larger one that has a more extensive network, and as a result, gain access to more ports and routes.
Furthermore, liner agreements are common in the shipping industry because they help to reduce the risk of overcapacity by avoiding unnecessary duplication of services. When liner operators work together, they can align their services to avoid congesting certain routes or ports and optimize the use of their ships. The liner agreement also enables the liner operators to coordinate their operations, including the timing of sailings, which can lead to faster transit times and improved service levels.
In closing, a liner agreement is a vital tool for liner operators to expand their service capacity, reduce costs, and optimize shipping service levels. By working together, liner companies can offer more comprehensive services and ensure the efficient transport of cargo. As such, the liner agreement is an essential aspect of the shipping industry that helps to promote growth and development in the global economy.