JUNE 19, 2013—Faced with declining volume growth and overcapacity in the market, some of the biggest container line operators in the world have agreed in principle to create a long-term alliance on East-West trades that aims to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Subject to regulatory approval, the service could start by the second quarter of 2014.
Called the P3 Network, the joint alliance of Maersk Line, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. and CMA CGM would operate a capacity of 2.6 million TEU (initially 255 vessels on 29 loops) on three trade lanes: Asia – Europe, Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic.
Maersk will contribute about 42% of the capacity for the network, including the new Triple-E ships. The first vessel in the Triple-E series, the Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller, was recently named at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in Okpo, South Korea.
For the P3 Network, MSC will provide 34% of the capacity and CMA CGM, 24%.
While the P3 Network vessels will be operated independently by a joint vessel operating center, the three lines will continue to have fully independent sales, marketing and customer service functions.
Maersk said the The P3 Network would "provide customers with more stable, frequent and flexible services."
Ane Maersk Mc-Kinney Uggla, the youngest daughter of the late Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller, was on hand for the naming ceremony for the first Triple-E ship. Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller, who retired as chairman of A.P. Møller-Maersk in 2003, passed away last year at the age of 98
Each of the lines will offer more weekly sailings in their combined network than they do individually. As an example, the P3 Network plans to offer eight weekly sailings between Asia and Northern Europe. In addition the P3 Network will offer more direct ports of call.
The improved network is expected to reduce the disruptions for customers caused by cancelled sailings.
In order to provide customers with a consistent service offering across the network, the lines will establish an independent joint vessel operating center.