In this paper, we contribute to the literature on uncertainty and the drivers of social exchange. We explore the 2008 financial crisis and hand-collect unique data on more than 2,700 vessel chartering deals closed in the container shipping industry from 2000 to 2011. Our contribution is twofold. We challenge the literature by finding that low and high status players use different collaborative strategies under uncertainty: the high status players are more prone to coopetition and the low status ones reach out to external buyers. We also extend the literature on social exchange and uncertainty and introduce other constructs: strategic versatility and country-level long-term orientation of the suppliers that we study in our model. Our findings are relevant for policy and managerial decision-makers in the industry.