Six container shipping have agreed to create a “THE Alliance” covering East–West trade lanes, which is due to start operations in April next year.
The six lines involved are: Nippon Yusen Kaisha, Hanging, Hapag-Lloyd, K-Line, Mitsui OSK Lines, and Yang Ming.
The move means that the East-West trades will be dominated by three giant alliances.
MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company and Maersk, the world’s two largest container shipping lines, already have a ten year vessel sharing agreement known at 2M.
And last month (April 2016), CMA CGM, COSCO Container Lines, Evergreen Line and Orient Overseas Container Line agreed to establish the Ocean Alliance.
“THE Alliance” covers all the East-West trade lanes including: Asia-Europe / Mediterranean, Asia-North America West Coast, Asia-North America East Coast, Transatlantic and Asia–Middle East / Persian Gulf / Red Sea. It is scheduled to begin operation in April 2017 subject to approval of all relevant authorities. The initial term of the cooperation will be five years.
It will create a network of some 650 ships totalling 3.5 million TEU – accounting for 18 per cent share of the global container fleet capacity.
Hapag-Lloyd and UASC are currently in talks on a business combination. If successful, UASC will become part of THE Alliance, which will increase the overall alliance capacity to more than 4 million TEU.
“This agreement is a milestone and will enable the six partners of THE Alliance to offer sailing frequencies and direct coverage in the market,” member carriers said in a statement. “The unique product will feature enhanced port coverage in Asia, North America, Europe, including the Mediterranean as well as the Middle East. The network of THE Alliance will ensure frequent sailings, high reliability and very attractive transit times for all shippers in the East–West trade lanes.“