Container shipping majors CMA CGM, COSCO Container Lines, Evergreen Line and Orient Overseas Container Line have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to form a new alliance, the Ocean Alliance.
The alliance is to enable carriers to merge their comprehensive service networks covering the Asia-Europe, Asia-Mediterranean, Asia-Red Sea, Asia-Middle East, Trans-Pacific, Asia-North America East Coast, and Trans-Atlantic trades.
“Shippers will have an attractive selection of frequent departures and direct calls to meet their supply chain needs, including access to a vast network with the largest number of sailings and port rotations connecting markets in Asia, Europe and the United States.”
“The Alliance will also bring service reliability and the most efficient integration of the latest vessels in a fleet of over 350 containerships,” member carriers said in a statement.
As informed, initially the deployment will cover more than 40 services globally mostly connected with Asia, including about 20 services each in the U.S. and Europe related trades.
Subject to regulatory approvals of competent authorities, the new alliance plans to begin operations in April 2017. The initial period of the alliance shall be five years.
“The Ocean Alliance is a very ambitious operational agreement. CMA CGM, and its new partners, will offer more than 40 maritime loops, providing its customers with an enhanced network of services and fast transit times,” says Rodolphe Saadé, Vice-Chairman of the CMA CGM Group.
“Today is a great day for COSCO Container Lines. OCEAN Alliance is a better match for our globalization strategy. We will provide customers with more selections and improved service world-wide,” COSCO Container Lines said in a statement.
“Joint service cooperation is an essential part of our own strategic planning. This new alliance enables us to optimize fleet deployment and offer competitive service to meet customers’ changing demand,“ says Lawrence Lee, CEO of Evergreen Marine Corporation.
Upon signing the MOU, Andy Tung, CEO of Orient Overseas Container Line said that the new alliance will also be a platform for the company’s ongoing growth as well as improve its cost and efficiency.
The driving factor behind the proposed new alliance is believed to be challenging of the 2M’s dominance in the East – West trades.
Talks are said to be underway with international regulators in the US, Europe and China, on approval of the new alliance which would control around 26% of the trade between Asia and Europe.