- Yang Ming Marine Transport Co., a Taiwanese transport line, is set to join the THE Alliance in April, but has suspended its Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) scheduling services, American Shipper reported Monday.
- EDI allows data to be exchanged between shippers and carriers. The early service cut off will not affect pre-booked shipments, but does raise doubt as to Yang Ming's future portage, as many port rotations for THE Alliance remain uncertain.
- THE Alliance, which is comprised of the German Hapag-Lloyd line as well as Mitsui O.S.K. Line (MOL), Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (the "K" Line), all of Japan, is still listing potential ports of call as “North Europe hub” or Southeast Asia hub” instead of the specific terminals intended. Planned routing is said to comprise 31 loops made by 240 vessels calling at 75 ports or more.
Though port rotations are not yet set, THE Alliance will combine operations in April 2017 for a period of five years, pending regulatory approval. The bankrupt Hanjin was also set to join, as was Hyundai Merchant Marine, which wound up settling for a shared slot exchange thanks to its current shaky economics. The remaining lines, which include Yang Ming, for a total of five full partners plus HMM, intend to compete with the 2M of Maersk Line (which recently purchased Hamburg-Sud) and the Mediterranean Shipping Company, two of the biggest carriers, and the Ocean Alliance, of which China Cosco Shipping, the Evergreen Line, CMA CGM, and Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) all belong.
THE Alliance carriers comprise approximately 3.5 million TEUs. The partners operate roughly 620 ships, all told. Rumors that THE Alliance could add another member thanks to a potential merger of Hapag-Lloyd and the United Arab Shipping Company have not been verified due to financing concerns delaying the formal announcement.
THE Alliance intends to run the east-west trade lanes, including Asia-Europe, trans-Pacific, trans-Atlantic and Asia-Middle East/Persian Gulf/Red Sea.