Two largest ocean cargo carriers form 2M Network

Maersk and MSC have signed a 10-year contract deal to share vessels on some of the world's busiest trade routes.

By ·

When the P3 Network was nixed by China last month, mega ocean cargo carriers were facing a vexing dilemma: how to reorganize global services and still make money. Two of the world’s biggest –  Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co – may have solved that problem by creating the 2M Network today. But where does that leave CMA-CGM? Free to explore other options, it would seem.

Maersk and MSC have signed a 10-year contract deal to share vessels on some of the world’s busiest trade routes.

Apart from being a smaller market share agreement, it also differs from the P3 Network by being a pure-play VSA. There will be no jointly-owned independent entity with executional powers.

“Vessel-sharing arrangements are nothing new, but they have gotten larger due to the sustained over capacity situation,” says Brian M. Conrad, Executive Administrator, Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA). “Carriers ordered vessels based on assumptions of a quicker recovery in global trade growth, and on the urgent need to manage costs through greater economies of scale. Roughly a third of global container lines posted profits in 2013, most from cost-cutting, not top line growth.”

In the transpacific, adds Conrad, no major carrier operated profitably and the trade as a whole has seen only five profitable quarters in the past five years.

The VSA will include 185 vessels with an estimated capacity of 2.1 million TEU, deployed on 21 strings. The overall purpose of the cooperation is to share infrastructure (network).

According to Maersk, shippers will have more stable and frequent services reaching more ports with direct service. At the same time, the VSA should improve the efficiency of the Maersk Line and MSC networks through better utilization of vessel capacity and economies of scale.

“Our agreement with MSC is a step towards achieving all of these objectives in the East-West trades,” says Søren Skou, Maersk Line CEO.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Container · Ocean Cargo · Shipping · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) / Inventory Management Technology: 6 Trends for the Modern Age
Here’s how the next generation of warehouse and inventory management systems are evolving to help logistics operations operate more efficiently and improve their bottom lines in our brave, new digital age.
Download Today!
From the March 2018 Logistics Management Magazine Issue
We know e-commerce is reshaping logistics, but what are the technologies savvy managers can leverage to meet evolving requirements and shifting operational constraints? We’ve rounded up insights from leading analysts to share tools that are available now as well as what’s on the horizon.
Reverse Logistics in the “Age of Entitlement”
Logistics Management’s Viewpoint on E-commerce: Leveraging available tools
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Securing IoT data across the connected supply chain
Learn why a holistic approach to IAM is the most effective way to govern access to your systems and information requested by your partners, vendors, customers, and connected devices.
Register Today!
Evolution of E-commerce: The possibilities of tomorrow
We know e-commerce is reshaping logistics, but what are the technologies savvy managers can leverage...
State of Global Logistics: Delivering above and beyond
Industry experts agree that costs across all sectors worldwide will continue to rise in 2018, and...

2018 Rate Outlook: Economic Expansion, Pushing Rates Skyward
Trade and transport analysts see rates rising across all modes in accordance with continued...
Building the NextGen Supply Chain: Keeping pace with the digital economy
Peerless Media’s 2017 Virtual Summit shows how creating a data-rich ecosystem can eliminate...