On Wednesday MSC and AP Moller-Maersk issued a joint statement that the two companies had mutually agreed to terminate the 2M alliance in 2025.
The alliance between Maersk and MSC was founded in 2015 with a minimum term of 10-years with a two-year notice period of termination, as such today’s announcement will see 2M being disbanded to after the minimum 10-year term is complete.
Vincent Clerc, CCO of AP Moller - Maersk, and Soren Toft, CEO of MSC, said jointly: “MSC and Maersk recognize that much has changed since the two companies signed the 10-year agreement in 2015. Discontinuing the 2M alliance paves the way for both companies to continue to pursue their individual strategies.”
“We have very much appreciated the partnership and look forward to a continued strong collaboration throughout the remainder of the agreement period. We remain fully committed to delivering on the 2M alliance’s services to customers of MSC and Maersk.”
In a seperate statement from MSC's Toft stated: :At MSC today, we continue to strengthen and modernize our fleet, providing us with the scale we need for the most comprehensive ocean and short-sea shipping network in the market. We remain focused on delivering high-quality, personal service to a wide range of clients, as we continue to develop cargo-carrying solutions on the oceans and beyond.”
There had been talk in the market of a termination of the 2M alliance as MSC steams ahead in the coming years in terms of its share of global containership capacity giving it the scale to go it alone. In its statement MSC noted it was a liner industry leader “with the largest fleet, order book and network coverage”.
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MSC took the crown as the world’s largest container line from Maersk at the start of 2022 and according to analyst Alphaliner MSC now holds a 17.6% share of global containership capacity while Maersk has a 16.1% share.
However, MSC has an orderbook for some 133 newbuildings with 1.83m teu capacity, or 39% of its current fleet. Once this orderbook is fully delivered it will be far and away the largest container line in the world. Maersk by contrast has been much more conservative with an orderbook of 29 newbuilds with a capacity of 358,300 teu, or 8.5% of its current fleet.
In an advisory to customer Maersk stressed the ability to provide customers with reliablity and flexibility operating outside of the 2M alliance structure. "We believe we will more efficiently deliver on the evolving needs of customers, such as the importance of reliability, flexibility, and sustainability in all aspects of logistics," the advisory said.
Competitors Maersk and MSC are often seen as strange bedfellows with the two companies having significantly different operating strategies. MSC CEO Toft did however come from a AP Moller – Maersk where he had previously been in charge of the container business.
The 2M alliance was originally envisaged the P3 Network including the third largest container line, however the plan was blocked by the Chinese authorities and P3 was abandoned with MSC and Maersk going on to form 2M.
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