Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) sought to quell customer and investor concern over the weekend, denying reports in the Journal of Commerce (JOC) that claimed it had been barred access to the 2M alliance. 2M, made up of the world’s two largest container lines, Maersk and MSC, had signed a surprise MoU with HMM earlier this year on joining the alliance, after the Korean line had been spurned from joining THE Alliance, a new container grouping made up of lines from Japan, Taiwan and Germany.
Nevertheless, senior officials at both MSC and Maersk had in past months stressed that HMM’s entrance into 2M was not a given.
HMM, which has been through massive restructuring this year, has failed on its mission to pick up the best assets from fellow Korean liner, Hanjin, which sought court protection at the end of August. Ironically, MSC and Maersk both trumped HMM to charter some of Hanjin’s best assets, while in the past week it has lost out to Korea Line Corp in bidding for Hanjin’s assets.
JOC has reported the 2M members have now denied HMM full membership to the alliance, preferring instead to offer the Korean company slot sharing agreements.
HMM has since denied the news, telling the Korea Herald over the weekend: “Maersk Line apologised and pledged to request a correction from the JOC.” A spokesperson for HMM claimed the line is still in negotiations over details of the membership process with the 2M alliance. “The official membership contract will likely be wrapped up no later than early next month,” the HMM official claimed.
Regardless, HMM is expected to face a tough day on the local stock exchange on Monday trading.