Container shipping operators Hanjin, Hapag-Lloyd, K Line, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Nippon Yusen Kaisha and Yang Ming have confirmed the creation of a new alliance, called THE Alliance, covering all East-West trade lanes.
A five-year agreement has been concluded, and THE Alliance is scheduled to commence operations in April 2017 subject to regulatory approval.
The six members of the new partnership have more than 620 ships with a combined capacity of around 3.5 million teu, giving THE Alliance an 18% share of the global container fleet capacity.
“This agreement is a milestone and will enable the six partners of THE Alliance to offer sailing frequencies and direct coverage in the market,” the 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 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.”
Additionally, the alliance statement said that “ongoing discussions between Hapag-Lloyd and UASC are progressing according to plan, although an agreement on business combination has not yet been reached.” However it did state that it anticipates that UASC will become part of the new alliance, and increase the overall capacity to 4 million teu.
South Korea’s Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) issued a statement today stressing that it is in negotiations to enter THE Alliance.