HMM’s CEO Seeks to Strengthen Ties with 2M Alliance

hmmSource: Flickr – under the CC BY 2.0 license; Image by: Kees Torn

The new CEO of South Korean shipping company Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) revealed plans to “consolidate the relationship” with 2M carriers, Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC). 

Jae-hoon Bae, who was appointed as HMM’s President and CEO last month, will be visiting Denmark and Switzerland, the countries where the 2M partners are headquartered, this week.

The purpose of the CEO’s visit is reportedly the extension of a strategic deal with 2M. Bae wants South Korean shipping company to become a full 2M member next year, the Wall Street Journal cited a person with knowledge of HMM’s efforts as saying.

Back in 2017, HMM signed the agreement with Maersk and MSC, launching the parties’ strategic cooperation on East-West trades. The three-year strategic cooperation is set to expire in April 2020 but has an extension option.

The deal includes a series of slot exchanges and slot purchases on the abovementioned route, as well as 2M taking over a number of charters and operations of vessels currently chartered to HMM.

Last year, industry analysts expressed their concerns that HMM would part its ways with 2M once the deal expires. The strategic cooperation was described as disadvantageous to HMM as the South Korean company is not a full member of the alliance.

What is more, HMM is not the only 2M Alliance strategic partner. In July last year, Maersk and MSC inked a strategic agreement with shipping company ZIM, deciding to swap slots on five loops on the Asia-US East Coast trade. The carriers expanded their cooperation in January 2019 as they agreed to share slots on select 2M services also on the Asia-US West Coast and Asia-Mediterranean trade lanes.

In December 2018, HMM was still not sure what course its relationship with 2M would take. The company, however, told World Maritime News that it maintained good ties with the alliance partners.

During his European tour this week, HMM’s CEO will be also visiting the European headquarter of HMM, located in London. Furthermore, Bae will meet Kitack Lim, the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), to share opinions and views on the IMO 2020 environmental regulation and upcoming regulatory measure on CO2 emissions.

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