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Acceleration in the Dissolution of 2M Alliance by Maersk and MSC

Author: Exports News
Nov 09, 2023
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Concluding a long-standing relationship, the separation of Maersk and MSC from their 2M consortium appears to be unfolding with remarkable ease. Having initially announced their decision to end their cooperation earlier this year, the carriers have now embarked on the process of disentangling their jointly operated services. Alphaliner reports that the 2M partners are increasingly favoring joint loops operated by only one of the two partners, moving away from services with mixed fleets.

The 2M partners had been operating three services between Europe and the US East Coast, namely TA and NEUATL services, numbered one to three. However, the most significant changes are anticipated in the TA/NEUATL 3, which runs from North Europe to the US Gulf. The recent withdrawal of the Maersk-chartered Northern Majestic, a 7,000 TEU vessel, from this service marked a pivotal moment. The NEUATL 3 is now fully operated by MSC ships, but notably, MSC Desiree (9,408 TEU) is also set to be withdrawn, with the loop being operated by seven ships ranging from 5,550 to 6,730 TEU.

The rotation for this service is set to include Antwerp, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Newark (New York), Charleston, Veracruz, Altamira, New Orleans, Mobile, Freeport (Bahamas), Charleston, and Antwerp.

Alphaliner also points out adjustments in the TA2/NEUATL2 service, which witnessed a capacity reduction in September after six vessels between 6,800 and 7,200 TEU were withdrawn and replaced by six Maersk-operated ships ranging from 4,130 to 5,100 TEU. Further to these loops, the ‘TA1 / NEUATL1’ has consistently been a Maersk-operated service, utilizing US-flagged ships of 4,820 TEU, with MSC acting as a co-loader on this loop.

Analyzing the consortium’s Atlantic services, Alphaliner notes that the TA6/Medgulf has yet to experience a redeployment of tonnage, maintaining a mixed fleet with five MSC vessels (7,470 – 9,580 TEU) and four Maersk units (6,540 – 7,250 TEU).

Canadian services, according to Alphaliner, were already operating outside the 2M scope, with Maersk partnering with CMA CGM and MSC collaborating with Hapag-Lloyd and OOCL for operations to Canada’s Atlantic coast and the St Lawrence.

In the Pacific, carriers have organized themselves with each operator providing all the tonnage for each loop. Alphaliner highlights that this arrangement is not unusual, citing the Ocean Alliance and THE Alliance, where similar practices are observed.

Meanwhile, Maersk is gearing up to operate a service covering the US, Venezuela, Columbia, and Central America in collaboration with French carrier CMA CGM. Operating as a vessel-sharing agreement, the carriers will deploy three ships ranging from 1,500 to 2,500 TEU—two from CMA CGM and one from Maersk. The service is expected to call at ports including Port Everglades, Kingston, La Guaira, Puerto Cabello, Cartagena (Colombia), Puerto Cortes, Santo Tomas de Castilla (or Puerto Barrios), and Port Everglades.

Further details on this service, including the start date, are yet to be revealed, according to Alphaliner's report. The unfolding developments indicate a dynamic period of adjustment and strategic realignment in the container shipping landscape.

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