Feature, Freight News, Sea

P3 becomes 2M as Maersk and MSC sign new deal

[ July 10, 2014   //   ]

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company has signed a ten-year vessel sharing agreement (VSA) with Maersk Line on the three main east-west trade lanes: Asia-Europe, Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic.

It will be known as 2M and will provide about 185 vessels operating 21 strings, with around 2.1 million teu total capacity.

It comes in the wake of the Chinese authorities’ decision in June not to allow the P3 alliance between MSC, Maersk and CMA CGM to go ahead, on the grounds that the group would have too dominant a share of its trade.

While less ambitious than P3, 2M would still help the two lines achieve major efficiency savings, said MSC vice president, Diego Aponte. He said: “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.”

As well as having a smaller market share than P3, 2M would be a simple VSA without any separate independent organisation or executive powers to manage the network. Vessels deployed in the VSA would still be operated by the two individual lines. Nevertheless, said MSC, it would improve network efficiency and give lower slot costs through improved utilisation of vessel capacity, while providing more sailings and direct port pairs.

The 185 vessels would have an estimated capacity of 2.1 million teu on 21 strings; six Asia/North Europe strings, four Asia/Mediterranean, four Asia/US West Coast, two Asia/US East Coast, three North Europe/US: and two Mediterranean/US.

Maersk Line will contribute 110 vessels with a nominal capacity of 1.2m teu and MSC 75 vessels with 0.9m teu.

It will replace all current VSAs and slot purchase agreements that MSC has with Maersk Line on these trades.

A joint coordination committee will monitor day to day management of the network.

The VSA is expected to start in early 2015 but the starting date depends on filing of information and in some cases approvals by maritime authorities.

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