Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd team up, in another shake-up of shipping alliances

Source: The Straits Times; Bloomberg
Date: 18th January 2024

Shipping giants AP Moller-Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd are teaming up to combine parts of their fleets, shaking up existing alliances that have dominated the seaborne container market for much of the past decade.

The long-term operational cooperation will start in February 2025 with a fleet of about 290 vessels, the companies said in statements issued on Jan 17.

Maersk will deploy 60 percent and Hapag-Lloyd the rest. The ships will be able to carry 3.4 million 20-foot container units.

The announcement from Copenhagen-based Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd of Hamburg, Germany, marks another retooling of the world’s three major shipping alliances – essentially vessel-sharing agreements that the biggest players have operated under to maximise capacity and keep costs low.

Maersk and MSC Mediterranean Shipping announced the end of the 2M Alliance in 2023, effective in 2025. The latest move sees Hapag-Lloyd exiting THE Alliance, which includes Asian carriers Ocean Network Express, Yang Ming Marine Transport and HMM.

Left intact is the Ocean Alliance, with France’s CMA CGM SA, Taiwan’s Evergreen Marine and China Cosco Shipping.

“By entering this cooperation, we will be offering our customers a flexible ocean network that will be raising the bar for reliability in the industry,” said Maersk chief executive. “This will strengthen our integrated logistics offering.”

Hapag-Lloyd will be focused n its core container business.

Closely held MSC remains the world’s largest container line.

Hapag-Lloyd is a better match for Maersk than MSC, given the Danish shipping giant’s strategic focus on delivery reliability and efficiency.

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