MARSEILLE-based CMA CGM is expected to look for its own vessel sharing agreement with another carrier now it has been jilted by Maersk and MSC, according to London's Drewry Shipping Consultants and Paris-based Alphaliner.
Both research houses agree that leading candidates are the United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) and China Shipping Container Liner (CSCL), after hopes of being included in a Maersk-MSC-CMA CGM alliance were torpedoed by Chinese regulators.
Said Drewry: "Both [UASC and CSCL] have recently ordered 18,000-TEU ships, and have worked with CMA CGM in the past, but there are other options. They may be needed as CMA CGM has 28 ships of 9,000 TEU on order, some of which are more suitable for north-south trades."
Alphaliner agreed that CMA CGM would likely join "CSCL and UASC in a potential '2CU' alliance". What could emerge, said Alphaliner, is a "four-way battle involving the 2M, 2CU, CKYHE and G6."
Drewry said Maersk and MSC in their substitute 2M proposal were attempting to meet Chinese regulatory objections in that the new configuration reduced market share, and does not look so much like a merger.
Alphaliner agreed: "Unlike the aborted P3, the 2M will not include joint marine operations and the 2M joint coordination committee will not have any independent executional powers.
"This differs from the P3's Network Centre, jointly owned by the carriers and would independently manage the entire vessel pool with centralised cost sharing as well as decision making powers to withdraw sailings," said Alphaliner.
On market share, Drewry said: "Maersk and MSC's 32 per cent share of effective westbound vessel capacity, is more than a 30 per cent normally allowed under the European Union's consortium regulation, so this will require close scrutiny."
Alphaliner said the main conflict area will be the Asia Europe trade, where the 2M vessel sharing agreement would control 33 per cent of the Asia-North Europe capacity and 38 per cent of the Far East-Mediterranean capacity.
"Although the 2M carriers' capacity share on these two trades will still exceed the 30 per cent market share threshold that the regulators have used in assessing dominant market control, the two carriers stress that the 2M will be a traditional VSA and would not constitute a 'closely associated alliance'," said Alphaliner.
"CMA CGM's options are limited at this point, as it seems to have little time to react to the 2M announcement. According to the carriers, both Maersk and MSC have already given notice to their current slot partners to terminate all relevant east west slot arrangements," said the Paris-based analyst.
Source : SN-TR.