South Korean container carrier Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) is expected to ink a deal to join Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Compay (MSC) this December in the world’s largest shipping alliance, 2M, local media cited the country’s top financial regulator.
According to Yim Jong-yong, chairman of South Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC), negotiations could be finalized around December 10, 2016.
If signed, the agreement would enable HMM to act as a member of the alliance, starting in April 2017, supporting the firm’s efforts to remain in operation despite a multibillion-dollar debt, local media cited Yim Jong-yong as saying.
The 2M alliance handles 28 percent of the global containerized cargo.
Members of the alliance have been in discussions with the Korean carrier on HMM joining the 2M vessel sharing agreement (2M VSA) since July 2016.
It is not clear if HMM will join the alliance as an equal partner to Maersk and MSC, or it will partner with the 2M network through a slot exchange and purchase agreement.
Yim added that the fate of another South Korean carrier, the financially-troubled Hanjin Shipping which filed for court receivership on August 31, 2016, will be decided by the court, not by the government.
Hanjin has been seeking to sell its 54 percent stake in a container terminal at California’s Long Beach. Reports say that SM Group, owner of Korea Line Corp., may propose a joint acquisition of the company’s stake in the terminal to HMM. The joint acquisition is said to be a win-win solution for both companies, with Korea Line operating the line and HMM using it as leverage to join the 2M alliance.
World Maritime News Staff