Alliances flooded the news this year as the landscape of ocean carriers changed and shifted with mergers and acquisitions from all over the globe. As carriers try to expand their market share and tap into new and emerging markets, they’re finding strength in numbers which is leading to conglomerations of ships and often an overlap of routes. We’ve decided to use these combinations as a method to discuss how logistics professionals can navigate the waters when their employer becomes involved with a merger or acquisition.

Contrary to pop-culture movies, mergers and acquisitions do not always end in a massive spread of layoffs and cutbacks. Most of the carrier alliances are keeping staff from each of the companies to smooth the transition for customers who may be unfamiliar with a carrier suddenly providing the service they need. Retaining staff, especially in their customer service and sales arenas provides a continuity of practices while the kinks are being ironed out. It’s rarely an announcement-followed-by-pink-slip event, but there are issues that employees and employers should consider. Besides benefit changes, organizational restructuring, and overlap, there are opportunities for cross training, expanded clientele reach, and fresh avenues to consider when your company suddenly marries into another.

Expertise in regards to your original position and corporate culture gives an employee an important, on the ground, perspective that should be mined by employers for the best practices to use toward cultural synergy and client retention. Open communication between all teams regarding the minutiae of client needs and standard operating procedures can prevent early offenses that are exacerbated by change. Workers and clients both have a reasonable understanding that when an organization grows or merges with a new entity there will be a period of discomfort, but these offer opportunities to show clients the added value they’re going to receive, whether it’s lower pricing, more personal service, additional options that were previously unavailable before the merger.

Being informed, whether from the top down or the bottom up, allows service providers to turn problems into new solutions creating an exciting opportunity out of a disappointment. New routes with different price structures can be presented as a price increase or can be presented as a shorter transit, with fewer chances for delays or missed trans-loads as you detail the value of your new service offerings. This vision is also how our industry needs to view mergers and acquisitions as change is inevitable but it doesn’t have to be negative. Expanded companies offer an expanded network, reach and plethora of opportunities that likely wouldn’t open for us in the alternative. We would caution everyone to take time and learn their new partners, find the gems hidden in their plans, focus on the similarities and consider new ideas and procedures before trying to dive off the ship. If, after that, you’re still inclined to move on, we at BCS Placement are here to help find a new position that better fits your career goals. If, after a merger, you’ve found your company is missing some strategic people to round out your roster, we’re ready to send some outstanding candidates over to meet you. Seize the adventure and we wish everyone good luck and smooth sailing.