It has just been announced that a new 10 year Vessel Sharing Agreement has been formed on the Asia-Europe, Transatlantic and Transpacific trades. This new agreement will replace all existing VSAs and slot purchase agreements that Maersk Line has in these trades.The VSA will include 185 vessels, with Maersk contributing 100 with an estimated capacity of 2.1m TEU with the overall purpose of the cooperation to share infrastructure. The pair believe they will be able to provide more stable and frequent services as well as cover more ports with direct services. The agreement follows the collapse of the P3 alliance between Maersk Line, MSC and CMA CGM, which fell through in June when Chinese competition authorities refused to sanction the deal. A spokes person from Maersk states, the new agreement differs from P3 in two key ways: the combined market share is much smaller and it will be a pure vessel sharing agreement.
Unlike the P3 alliance, this agreement isn’t expected to encounter regulatory opposition because it is narrower in scope, even though it also extends to trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific as well as Asia-Europe routes. China’s antitrust authorities ended the P3 deal last month as many Chinese and smaller shipping companies felt they would be squeezed out of key routes. Had the agreement gone ahead, it likely would have saved each of the three partners close to $1 billion in annual costs. The P3 alliance would have controlled close to 40% of cargo shipped from Asia to Europe. It is unclear yet how much cargo the 2M tie-up will account for. It will, however, help secure their finical situation and help reduce the ever increasing cost of transportation for traders. It would be wise now to move to buy or lease some containers in order to make sure you capitalize on this development.
Such partnerships are common in the industry. In 2011, six container-shipping lines created the G6 Alliance, one of the largest vessel networks linking the Far East to Europe. And the CKYH Alliance, which was formed in 2002, includes Japan’s Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. , China’s Cosco Container Lines, Taiwan’sYang Ming Marine Transport Corp. and South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping Co.
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