This time last year containership giants Maersk and MSC announced their intention to break up their 2M Alliance, and now Maersk have forged a new operational cooperation deal with Hapag-Lloyd. The industry titans have signed an agreement for a new long-term operational collaboration called ”Gemini Cooperation”, which will start in February 2025.
[See our post from a year ago: World’s Largest Container Lines End Alliance ].
The move has surprised MSC who says that Maersk instigated the 2M split and declared it was not interested in joining a new vessel-sharing agreement. And it has no doubt come as a shock to Hapag-Lloyd’s remaining THEA partners, ONE, Yang Ming and HMM, as it leaves them in a vulnerable position, unable to field a network matching those of the Ocean Alliance, MSC or Gemini – unless they can quickly lure a new partner.
The new cooperation between Hapag-Lloyd and Maersk will comprise 26 mainline services deploying a fleet pool of around 290 vessels with a combined capacity of 3.4 million TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) containers – Maersk will deploy 60% and Hapag-Lloyd 40%.
Hapag-Lloyd has posted a copy of the press release at this link (PDF format).
The agreement is something of a u-turn by Maersk, which had previously said its integrator strategy did not fit with vessel sharing. The break-up of the 2M was announced on 25 January last year, shortly after MSC passed Maersk to become the world’s largest container carrier, and will officially cease in January next year.
Part of Maersk’s release is under the sub-heading:
One size fits none:
“The cooperation will cover 7 trades: Asia / North Europe, Asia / Mediterranean, Middle East – India / Europe, Asia / Middle East, Asia / US East Coast, Asia / US West Coast and Transatlantic and comprise of 26 mainline services. The mainline ocean services will be complemented by a global network of dedicated shuttles centred around owned and controlled transhipment hubs. These shuttle services will be spread as: 14 shuttle services in Europe, 4 in the Middle East, 13 in Asia and 1 in the Gulf of Mexico. These shuttle services will offer a fast connection with flexible capacity between hubs and ports served by shuttle services, and vice versa.
“The new network has the goal of making an unparalleled improvement to schedule reliability, while maintaining competitive transit times and frequency, offering customers quality service and delivery promises. We understand that at the core of your needs is the ability to build a robust and reliable supply chain that works for you, when you need it and how you need it.”
As a part of the agreement, the two companies have set the ambitious target of delivering schedule reliability of above 90% once the network is fully phased in. The aim is to improved service quality, resulting in improved transit times in many major port-to-port corridors and access to some of the world’s best connected ocean hubs.
Both companies are committed to the decarbonization of their fleets and have set the most ambitious decarbonization targets in the industry with Maersk aiming for net-zero in 2040 and Hapag-Lloyd in 2045.
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