South Korean liner Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) has opened channels to join the world’s largest carrier alliance, the 2M union, which is presently between Maersk and MSC, according to Bloomberg.
HMM has been hit hard by a downturn in rates, being billions of dollars in debt, and will be looking to join 2M in order to secure some stability in a volatile market and thereby stem its current unprofitability.
HMM was previously in talks to join the latest container shipping grouping – THE Alliance, which rival liner Hanjin Shipping is part, however it did not secure a place in the alliance.
COO of Maersk Line Soren Toft has said: “The inclusion of Hyundai Merchant Marine in 2M would, for example, provide us with extended coverage and a stronger product in the trans-Pacific trade,” showing that while no deal has been struck yet, the world’s largest liner is receptive to the idea of including HMM in 2M.
2M rose from the ashes of its previous incarnation P3, which included Maersk, MSC and French-liner CMA CGM. However, P3 was blocked by China on antitrust grounds, although Europe and the US passed the alliance, China feared P3 would be monopolistic and have too much power in the global liner market.
After this Maersk and MSC went alone as the first and second biggest liners in the world, respectively, while CMA CGM joined the Ocean Alliance with China Cosco, OOCL and Evergreen.
That HMM has a smaller share of the market than CMA CGM, authoritative bodies may look more benignly on the possibility of the South Korean liner joining 2M.
Source : ContainerNews.