Maersk, MSC to Start 2M Alliance in January

Maersk Line, part of Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk, and Swiss firm Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) are planning to launch their new vessel sharing service  as early as January 2015, with their customers being notified of the network and transit times by September, Reuters reports.

The world’s largest container shipper signed a 10 year Vessel Sharing Agreement with MSC (VSA) on the Asia-Europe, Transatlantic and Transpacific trades in July.

The VSA will be referred to as 2M, and it will replace all existing VSAs and slot purchase agreements that Maersk Line has in these trades.
The VSA will include 185 vessels with an estimated capacity of 2.1 million TEU, deployed on 21 strings.

The agreement was reached one month after China’s Ministry of Commerce refused to approve the P3 alliance which included the two firms and France’s CMA CGM.

Competition concerns were stated as the reason for the blockade, saying that the three firms would cover more than 40 percent of Asia-Europe and trans-Atlantic trade.

The 2M VSA differs from the earlier proposed P3 alliance in two important aspects: the combined market share is much smaller, and this cooperation is a pure VSA. There will be no jointly owned independent entity with executional powers. It is projected that 2M would give the two companies less than 30 percent on the Asia-Europe route.

The financial crisis has left the global shipping industry battling overcapacity with vessels ordered prior to the financial dip overcrowding the market.

This pooling of resources is seen as a way of cutting down the costs.

World Maritime News Staff

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