'No' to HMM's 2M membership, but 'Yes' to slot deal with Mae

Time: 2016-12-13 14:20
DANISH shipping giant Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) will enter a three-year "strategic cooperation" agreement with Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM), but the Korean carrier will not be joining the 2M Alliance.
The cooperation deal begins in April 2017, subject to regulatory approval, and will be a combination of slot exchanges and slot purchases between the three parties. Maersk Line and MSC will also take over a number of charters and operations of vessels that are currently chartered to HMM, Maersk Line said in a statement, IHS Media reported.
"We are pleased to enter into this strategic cooperation with Hyundai Merchant Marine, Korea's leading container carrier," said Soren Toft, chief operating officer at Maersk Line. "It will enable us to enhance our 2M network and presence in the important trans-Pacific trade."
HMM signed a memorandum of understanding with 2M in July, a move some saw as a lifeline thrown to the struggling carrier that may have influenced its survival and the demise of fellow Korean carrier Hanjin at the end of August.
Business Korea reported the latest news by stating that HMM is now a half-fledged member of the 2M Alliance and dubbed the new looser cooperative relationship as "2M+H Strategic Cooperation".
The Maersk Line statement said that although the cooperation would be outside the scope of MSC and Maersk Line's 2M vessel sharing agreement, it would provide HMM access to the 2M network. For Maersk Line the cooperation will provide new opportunities, specifically in the trans-Pacific trade where 2M will have access to the strong HMM products.
The initial term of the cooperation is three years with an option to extend and covers key East-West trades. The parties said they expected to disclose more information about network changes and schedules in early 2017.
The addition of HMM to the 2M would have added only a 2 per cent boost to 2M capacity on the trans-Pacific, maritime analyst Drewry has said. The additional capacity available to Maersk comes after a third quarter when the company's container volumes grew 11 per cent versus total market growth that the carrier estimated at only 1 per cent to 3 per cent, as trans-Pacific traffic increased 14 per cent.
HMM nearly went bankrupt over the summer, avoiding such an outcome in dramatic fashion following down-to-the-wire negotiations with shipowners and creditors. As part of those efforts, HMM successfully secured charter rate reductions of 20 per cent from Danaos Corporation, Eastern Pacific Shipping, Zodiac Maritime Agencies, Navios Maritime, and Capital Ship Management Corporation.
Contact:  Aster Chen
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