- Maersk and MSC will discontinue their 2M alliance in 2025 as the two companies pursue different strategies, the shipping lines announced in a joint press release Wednesday.
- The 2M alliance allowed the two carriers to share cargo capacity in the Asia-Europe, Transatlantic and Transpacific trade lanes as part of a container shipping line vessel sharing agreement.
- There will be no immediate impact to services during the phase-out, according to the release.
The world’s two largest ocean shipping lines will part ways after 10 years operating in concert, paving the way for future changes to vessel-sharing agreements — a critical tool in carriers’ playbooks for managing capacity.
“This should be seen as the first domino of many to fall over the next 1-2 years,” Lars Jensen, CEO of Vespucci Maritime, said on LinkedIn.
The 2M alliance established a behemoth in the industry when it was created in 2015. Maersk and MSC can each independently move over 4 million TEUs through a combination of owned and chartered ships, according to Alphaliner data.
Their alliance has defined the market for nearly a decade, even spurring a wave of consolidation in the number of other industry alliances in the years following its creation.
“Even if 2M formally runs until January 2025 it should be expected that Maersk’s and MSC’s networks on the alliance trades will begin to deviate even more in 2023 through different [vessel sharing agreements] and slotcharter agreements,” Jensen said.
The companies acknowledged the commercial environment that led to the union in 2015 has changed — particularly as the carriers pursue new strategies. Maersk, for example, wants to be viewed as an end-to-end logistics service provider, rather than just a shipping line.
“Discontinuing the 2M alliance paves the way for both companies to continue to pursue their individual strategies,” A.P. Moller - Maersk CEO Vincent Clerc and MSC CEO Soren Toft said in a joint statement.