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UASC, CMA CGM and China Shipping to launch new alliance

ShippingWatch has learned that UASC, CMA CGM and China Shipping will present a new comprehensive VSA agreement today or tomorrow, at the latest. The carriers plan to charter large tonnage.

Arabian UASC, Frech CMA CGM and China Shipping will present a new, large-scale VSA agreement today or tomorrow, at the latest, as a direct response to 2M, the planned collaboration between the world's two largest container carriers, Maersk Line and MSC.

ShippingWatch has learned that the three carriers, following negotiations that picked up speed after the collapse of P3, have agreed on a setup that, among other things, involves chartering more and bigger tonnage, as well as launching a whole new service.

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The VSA collaboration, where the three carriers will use space on each other's vessels, will include coverage of the key trade lane between Asia and Europe with four services, while the alliance will also include four services between Asia and the Mediterranean. The agreement also includes services on the Pacific and the US East Coast.

New service to be established

And the three carriers will establish an all new trade, from the Pacific through Asia and Suez to the US East Coast.

The new alliance should not come as a complete surprise to ShippingWatch's readers. Following the Chinese rejection of P3, which resulted in the collapse of the alliance, UASC's CEO Jørn Hinge hinted at an interest in CMA CGM.

"We have worked with CMA CGM in the past and it's not unlikely that we would do so again. If we can agree on the terms, it could be an option. It’s not something we have discussed yet and there might be all other kinds of constellations underway," he told ShippingWatch.

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UASC has ordered some of the largest container ships in the world, and it would make sense to deploy these on Asia-Europe. According to ShippingWatch's sources, no new tonnage will be built for the alliance, which will at first bet on chartering more and bigger ships.

Must be cleared in the US

Like the new VSA agreement that has been submitted to the US Federal Maritime Commission, FMC, and is currently awaiting approval, this new agreement will also need to go through Washington and be cleared by the FMC. But as the three parties already have smaller agreements in place, several sources from the involved carriers do not expect this to be a problem.

With this new alliance - and assuming that the alliances awaiting approval are cleared - the global container industry will feature four major alliances: CKYHE, 2M, G6 and 2CU (CCU).

UASC: Alliance with CMA CGM might be on the table

Alphaliner: New 2M competitor would have 20 percent on Asia-Europe

SeaIntel: New Maersk alliance similar to P3 in several aspects

Media: Maersk and MSC have not learned from failed P3 

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