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THE Alliance should consider collaborating with MSC after Hapag. Published 2024-03-19
According to a recommendation by US consultancy AlixPartners, THE Alliance could face challenges as the weakest container shipping alliance following Hapag-Lloyd's departure next year. To maintain competitiveness, AlixPartners suggests exploring a partnership with MSC.
After Maersk separates from the 2M Alliance to join forces with Hapag to form the Gemini Cooperation in February next year, MSC will operate independently. The remaining members of THE Alliance – ONE, HMM, and Yang Ming – will have a combined capacity of only 2.5 million TEU without Hapag and may require a new member to remain competitive.
However, the Ocean Alliance members – CMA CGM, Cosco, and Evergreen – recently announced an extension of their cooperation until 2032, eliminating the possibility of any of them defecting to join THE Alliance.
AlixPartners' 2024 container shipping report suggests that THE Alliance may need to shift its strategy or consider a potential Vessel Sharing Agreement (VSA) with MSC. Without Hapag-Lloyd, THE Alliance would become the smallest of the four global carrier alliances, particularly weak on the Asia-Europe and transatlantic routes.
Linerlytica's latest report reinforces the Ocean Alliance's dominance, with over 4 million TEU of capacity, giving it a significant advantage on key trade routes. Linerlytica analyst Tan Hua Joo indicates that THE Alliance may seek slot arrangements on specific routes rather than a comprehensive alliance arrangement, especially focusing on the Asia-Europe/Med route.
While THEA members declined to comment on external speculation, Yang Ming's spokesperson mentioned that new arrangements would be announced in 2025. MSC, which already has a VSA with Zim Line on several trade lanes, did not provide a comment.
Xeneta's chief analyst, Peter Sand, emphasized that while anything is possible, partnership decisions require mutual agreement.
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