Maersk confirms HMM not joining 2M Alliance but looking at other options


FOLLOWING several months of discussions, Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have decided against admitting Korean line Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) into their 2M container shipping alliance, opting instead to explore various lower-level partnership options.

Confirming the decision with Lloyd's Loading List, Maersk Line said: "The parties have discussed the possibility of HMM joining 2M as an operating partner and now decided to look at other cooperation possibilities.

"The parties are therefore discussing the possibility of HMM partnering with the 2M network through a slot exchange and purchase agreement. The partnership discussions are ongoing and include the possibility of Maersk Line taking over charters and operations of vessels currently chartered to HMM with the aim of deploying them in the 2M network. The discussions include how we can improve our products on the Pacific trade."

Maersk said the discussions remain on-going and declined to comment further, including on the 2M partners' reasons for rejecting HMM's admission into the alliance.

Since the start of the talks in July, the container shipping industry has changed significantly with the collapse of HMM's fellow Korean line Hanjin Shipping, and also the decision by Japan's three major lines to merge their container businesses.

Although Maersk had initially been linked with the possible acquisition of Hanjin's assets, this did not take place, although HMM did bid for some of Hanjin's assets.

There has also been some speculation that Maersk may have been interested in a possible acquisition of HMM assuming a successful working relationship within 2M.

Maersk has acknowledged that the addition of HMM into the 2M alliance would have strengthened its product and position in the transpacific market, where it will have a smaller market share from April that new rival consortia Ocean Alliance and The Alliance. 

Based upon carriers' capacity on June 1, Alphaliner estimates that the Ocean Alliance will have a market share on the Asia-North America trades of almost 39 per cent in terms of capacity deployed, compared with 29 per cent for The Alliance, and just under 16 per cent for 2M (without HMM). On the Asia-Europe trades, the Ocean Alliance would have a slight capacity advantage, with a 34.5 per cent market share, against 2M's 33.4 per cent, and 21 per cent for The Alliance, according to Alphaliner.

Source: Schednet

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