Thursday, March 16, 2017

Container Freight Cooperation Launched as Box Carriers Sign Deal Whilst Maersk Snaps Up Competitor

Danish Line and MSC Join with HMM to Officially Form 2M+H
Shipping News Feature
DENMARK – SWITZERLAND – SOUTH KOREA – GERMANY – Maersk Line has signed two separate agreements that will likely see the world largest container shipping line in terms of capacity, enhance its current market share, as the industry faces troubling times with shippers turning to mergers and collaborations in an effort to remain viable. Simultaneously the Danish group has snapped up a competitor whilst ratifying the previously announced alliance with two of its traditional rival box lines, including second largest container carrier, the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).

After announcing its intention to acquire German box freight line Hamburg Süd, in December 2016, Maersk Line has now signed a final Purchase Agreement for the world’s eighth largest container shipping line and all its affiliates including the main business assets (vessels and containers) from the Oetker group, subject to regulatory approvals. In the coming weeks, the agreement should be reviewed and authorised by the respective Supervisory Boards and Shareholder Assemblies between end of April / mid-May.

Maersk also signed an agreement with MSC and Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) officially launching the strategic cooperation between the three shippers on East-West trades. This alliance by another name between the two 2M partners and HMM will include a series of slot exchanges and slot purchases on East-West routes. Robbert van Trooijen, Maersk Line’s Asia-Pacific Chief Executive, said:

“We are very proud of our strategic cooperation with Hyundai Merchant Marine, Korea’s leading container shipping company. We believe this strategic cooperation to be a win-win for all parties. Maersk Line’s customers will have greater options on Trans-Pacific trades and HMM’s customers will be able to leverage Maersk Line’s strong Asia-Europe products.

“Maersk Line has a long history in Korea spanning 87 years. Since 1930, when the first Maersk Line vessel called [at] Korea, Maersk Line has supported the global ambitions of Korean brands. Our partnership with Hyundai Merchant Marine is another link between Maersk Line and Korea.”

Under the name 2M+H Strategic Cooperation, the agreement is a combination of slot exchanges and slot purchases between the three parties, as well as Maersk Line and MSC taking over a number of charters and operations of vessels currently chartered to HMM. The length of the cooperation is three years starting on April 1, 2017, with an option to extend and covers key East-West trades.

Photo: Messrs. Soren Skou, CEO of Maersk Group, C.K. Yoo, CEO Hyundai Merchant Marine and Diego Aponte, President and CEO of Mediterranean Shipping Company sign the alliance agreement.