Maersk Line και η Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) ανακοίνωσαν μια συμφωνία 10ετούς διάρκειας διαμοιρασμού σκαφών (VSA), η οποία θεωρείται ως μια μικρότερης κλίμακας εναλλακτική λύση έναντι της συμμαχίας P3 .
Maersk and MSC announce new east-west cooperation
Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have announced a 10-year vessel-sharing agreement (VSA) on the Asia-Europe, Transatlantic and Transpacific east-west trades in what is seen as a smaller-scale alternative to the blocked P3 alliance.
The two carriers said the VSA would be referred to as 2M and differed from the earlier proposed P3 alliance – blocked on competition grounds by regulators in China – in two important ways: “First of all, the combined market share is much smaller. Secondly the cooperation is a pure VSA; there will be no jointly owned independent entity with executional powers,” Maersk said.
The 2M alliance is expected to start next year and will include 185 vessels with an estimated capacity of 2.1 million teu, deployed on 21 strings. It replaces all existing VSAs and slot-purchase agreements between the two lines on these trades.
The two lines said the overall purpose of the cooperation was to improve the efficiency of the Maersk Line and MSC networks through better utilisation of vessel capacity and economies of scale. By sharing their network infrastructure, they would also be able to provide customers with more stable and frequent services, and cover more ports with direct services, the lines said.
Under the agreement, Maersk Line will contribute approximately 110 vessels with a nominal capacity of around 1.2 million TEU – or 55\% of the total capacity.
MSC will contribute approximately 75 vessels with a nominal capacity of around 0.9 million TEU.
The lines stressed that vessels deployed in the VSA would continue to be owned (or chartered) and operated by the two individual lines. They said the VSA did not include joint marine operations, with each party executing their own operations including stowage, voyage planning and port operations.
They also stressed that the VSA “does not include any commercial tasks or responsibilities”, a key issue for customers and regulators. “Each party will continue to have fully independent sales, pricing, marketing, and customer-service functions,” Maersk said.
However, “a joint coordination committee” will monitor the network on a daily basis, the lines said.
The carriers said the VSA was expected to start early 2015, although the starting date was “conditioned by filing of information to, and in some cases approvals by, relevant authorities”.
Søren Skou, Maersk Line CEO, said Maersk and MSC shared the same ambition to have as efficient and effective operations as possible. “We will continue to provide our customers with competitive and reliable container shipping in the East-West trades at attractive prices,” he insisted.
“To do so we have to be innovative and take out cost, while keeping a product that is best in class for our customers in terms of coverage, frequency and reliability. Our agreement with MSC is a step towards achieving all of these objectives in the East-West trades.”
MSC vice president Diego Aponte commented: “This agreement represents another positive step in our continual drive to enhance our operational network in terms of scope, scale, efficiency and reliability,” benefits that he claimed customers would enjoy.
“The 2M vessel-sharing agreement will enable us to achieve significant reductions in fuel consumption, driving down the carbon footprint of our shipping operations. With sustainability a key area of focus for MSC, we’re delighted that this vessel-sharing agreement will mean major cuts in emissions while simultaneously enhancing our service to customers.”
Maersk Group CEO Nils Andersen said: “Over the last years, Maersk Line has established itself as a leader in the industry through its customer focus and by improving its competitive cost position. With this agreement Maersk Line will be able to further enhance its customer offering while also reducing costs and CO2 emissions.”
“I am confident that Maersk Line’s leadership, also after this positive step, will continue to find new ways to strengthen its competitive advantage and customer experience.”
Observers questioned where this partnership between Maersk and MSC leaves the lines’ former proposed P3 partner CMA CGM, although no-one from the French shipping line was able to respond to questions from Lloyds Loading List.com at the time of writing.