The global container shipping network is poised for a major shake-up. The 2M vessel-sharing alliance between MSC and Maersk — the world’s two largest ocean carriers — is being dissolved.
The two carriers said Wednesday that they had mutually agreed to terminate the alliance effective January 2025. Under the agreement signed in 2015, the alliance on east-west services was for a minimum of 10 years with a two-year notice period for termination. (For in-depth analyst perspectives on the repercussions, see story here.)
“Discontinuing the 2M alliance paves the way for both companies to continue to pursue their individual strategies,” said MSC CEO Soren Toft and newly appointed A.P. Moller-Maersk CEO Vincent Clerc in a joint statement.
The decision to terminate the 2M alliance has no effect on immediate alliance services, they emphasized. “We look forward to a continued strong collaboration throughout the remainder of the agreement period,” said Toft and Clerc.
Maersk said in a customer advisory, “We will seek to minimize any disruptions to the 2M network leading up to termination in 2025.”
During the pandemic period, the strategies of the two 2M partners diverged. MSC grew its capacity faster than any other shipping line, expanding primarily through secondhand ship acquisitions, while Maersk kept its capacity steady and focused instead on being an end-to-end logistics provider.
Maersk told customers: “Since 2M was formed in 2015, Maersk’s strategy has changed, as have the needs of our customers. Maersk wants to accelerate becoming an integrated provider of logistics, connecting and simplifying our customers’ supply chains.
“Discontinuing the 2M alliance paves the way for Maersk to efficiently focus on our integrator strategy to meet the evolving needs of our customers, including reliability, flexibility and sustainability.”
As for MSC, Toft said, “We continue to strengthen and modernize our fleet, providing us with the scale we need for the most comprehensive ocean and short-sea shipping network in the market.”
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