The most extensive cooperative alliance ever in the container industry is being forged these months. The unique aspect of the alliance is the participation of the world's three largest carriers, Maersk Line, Swiss MSC, and French CMA CGM. One the one hand, the three carriers have been competitors up to now, but on the other hand, they've worked together, to a certain extent, by using each other's ships on various routes. And they have a history of coordinating their rate increases in joint attempts at pushing up the rates.
But 2012 and 2013 have primarily offered declining rates, and the carriers' combined efforts have had no real effect. That's why the carriers are now sitting around a table, discussing a unique collaboration; they are - and that's a first in the industry - establishing a joint company in London to secure employment for the 255 ships participating in the alliance. The negotiations will lead to agreement on a joint mandate for P3, as the alliance has been named.