Asian box trades set for shakeup as Maersk and MSC join forces

Singapore: Asian container trades are set for a giant shake up with news out today that the world’s top two lines have signed a 10-year vessel sharing agreement (VSA). Following China’s refusal to sanction the P3 alliance between Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM last month, Maersk and MSC have ditched the French containerline and formed a VSA instead.

The VSA is for all Asia-Europe, Transatlantic and Transpacific trades. The VSA will be referred to as 2M. It replaces all existing VSAs and slot purchase agreements that Maersk and MSC have in these trades.

The VSA will include 185 vessels with an estimated capacity of 2.1m teu, deployed on 21 strings, 16 of which involve Asia.

“I am very pleased with our agreement with MSC. We share the same ambition to have as efficient and effective operations as possible. We will continue to provide our customers with competitive and reliable container shipping in the East-West trades at attractive prices. To do so we have to be innovative and take out cost, while keeping a product that is best in class for our customers in terms of coverage, frequency and reliability. Our agreement with MSC is a step towards achieving all of these objectives in the East-West trades,” said Søren Skou, Maersk Line ceo.

In a release, Maersk stressed: “The 2M VSA differs from the earlier proposed P3 alliance in two important ways: first of all, the combined market share is much smaller. Secondly the cooperation is a pure VSA. There will be no jointly owned independent entity with executional powers.”  [10/07/14]

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