In an effort to survive the current weak demand in the container shipping industry, South Korea’s shipping major Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) has started discussions to join the world’s largest alliance 2M, Danish shipping firm Maersk Line told World Maritime News.
“We can confirm that we – 2M – are in discussions with the Korean container shipping line Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) on the possibility of HMM joining the 2M vessel sharing agreement (2M VSA) when their membership of the G6 alliance expires in 2017,” Maersk Line’s COO, Søren Toft, said.
“We are positively reviewing the proposition. The inclusion of Hyundai Merchant Marine in 2M would for example provide us with extended coverage and a stronger product in the Transpacific trade,” he added.
Toft said that the discussions are still in the early days and therefore declined further comments “before there are more substantial developments in the discussions.”
The announcement follows HMM’s agreements with containership owners on 20 percent charter rate cuts and with owners of bulk carriers for 25 percent charter rate reductions, which are expected to come in force over the next three and a half years.
The final deal is a compromise solution as the company initially sought a 27 percent rate decrease.
HMM’s creditor group earlier agreed on the company’s debt restructuring proposal, as the company faces USD 4.48 billion wall of debt.
The 2M alliance comprises Maersk Line, the A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S shipping unit, and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).
World Maritime News Staff