MAERSK Line will terminate eight separate vessel-sharing or slot-exchange agreements with CMA CGM as it prepares to team up with Mediterranean Shipping Co in the new 2M alliance unveiled late last week.The new partners have agreed to withdraw from all other alliances to which they currently belong in the east-west trades in order to concentrate solely on 2M.
That will hit CMA CGM’s transpacific and Asia-Mediterranean services, leaving the French line on its own in some instances.
The world’s top three lines had been planning to work together on the Pacific, Atlantic and Asia-Europe trades through the P3 Network, until that was abandoned last month following a veto by China.
Maersk and MSC then decided to establish a new vessel-sharing agreement between the two of them, leaving out CMA CGM in order to keep market shares to a level likely to be acceptable to the Chinese authorities.
CMA CGM has not yet commented on its exclusion from 2M or revealed what its own plans are now, given the move towards large-scale alliances in order to gain economies of scale and reduce operating costs.
Both Maersk Line chief executive Søren Skou and MSC vice-president Diego Aponte told Lloyd’s List that they would be quitting other VSAs, with notice already given to partner lines.
Maersk and CMA CGM had built up a strong working relationship in recent years.The two are together on four Asia-US loops, with MSC also a partner in two of those.
The services that will be affected by VSA terminations are Maersk’s TP3/TP9 loop from Asia to the US via the Suez Canal; the TP2 and TP8 transpacific loops that involve MSC as well, and TP5 on which Maersk sells slots to CMA CGM. Separately, Maersk and MSC operate a US-flag transpacific service branded by the Danish line as TP8.
CMA CGM also co-operates with Maersk on services between Asia and the Mediterranean.
The French line’s Bosphorus Express, which serves the Black Sea, and Phoenician Express, which covers the Adriatic, both involve a partnership with Maersk. So do two others, marketed as AE11 by Maersk and MEX1 by CMA CGM, and the AE20/MEX3 rotation.