On 18 June the world’s three largest container shipping companies announced that, from the second quarter of 2014, they would be joining forces in an operational alliance under the name P3 network. In a surprise announcement, Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) & CMA CGM stated that they will deploy 255 owned or chartered vessels on 29 loops on three major trade lanes, Europe-Asia, transpacific and transatlantic, offering a combined capacity of 2,600,00 TEU.
Maersk, who made the first move by approaching its two biggest rivals about the operational alliance, will contribute 42 per cent of the capacity in the new network, or about 1,100,000 TEU, which includes the new Triple-E vessels. MSC will contribute 34 per cent of the capacity, while CMA CGM will provide the remaining 24 per cent.
The three lines stated that the P3 network will be managed independently by a joint vessel operating centre based in London, resulting in a large part of the operational management in Maersk Line vessel’s also being based in London.
The agreement is awaiting approval of regulatory authorities, which the companies hope will be forthcoming in the last quarter of 2013, with an intended launch date in the second quarter of 2014. A Maersk official said that the alliance has already engaged in preliminary in talks with regulators in the Eu, China and the united States.