The shipping industry is in the midst of a major shift as the world’s largest container shipping companies, Maersk and MSC, announced on Wednesday that they will be ending their vessel sharing alliance in January 2025. The 2M alliance, which was established in 2015, was designed to cope with a glut of ships and weak demand, and to ensure competitive and cost-efficient operations on main shipping routes from Asia to Europe, as well as across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Both companies had seen the alliance as a way to manage more capacity after purchasing new mega-ships. However, in recent times, MSC has responded to rising shipping rates caused by pandemic-related delays and bottlenecks by increasing the size of its fleet, while Maersk has kept its fleet size mostly steady.
“The end of the partnership is expected to give both companies more flexibility to pursue their own individual strategies. Maersk aims to integrate container shipping at sea with its land-based logistics business, while MSC plans to strengthen and modernize its fleet. This move by Maersk and MSC is a significant development in the shipping industry, as the two companies hold a market share of around 17% each. However, Sigsgaard reassured that “we have been fighting fiercely over customers and market share the last eight years.
Shares in Maersk fell after the announcement, but the company expects to be able to deliver ocean shipping at the same scale when the partnership with MSC ends without rising the cost of moving each container at sea. The shipping industry is constantly evolving and the end of this partnership is yet another indication of the changing dynamics in the sector. As the industry continues to adapt and evolve, it will be interesting to see how the strategies of these two shipping giants, and the industry as a whole, will evolve in the coming years.