China COSCO Shipping Corp Ltd and three partners, including France's CMA CGM SA, announced a new shipping partnership, OCEAN Alliance, formed to challenge 2M - the world's largest container carrier alliance.
Other members of the new COSCO alliance are Taiwan-based Evergreen Line and Hong Kong's Orient Overseas Container Line.
The partnership, called “Ocean Alliance”, would involve a fleet of 350 container ships and in a first stage cover more than 40 services.
The carriers said: "The alliance will also bring service reliability and the most efficient integration of the latest vessels in a fleet of over 350 containerships. Initially the deployment will cover more than 40 services globally mostly connected with Asia, including about 20 services each in the USA and Europe related
The partners plan to begin operations in April 2017 for an initial period of five years, CMA CGM said in a statement.
The formation of the alliance is subject to regulatory approvals from the U.S., the European Union and China, all of which have closely scrutinized a series of full-blown tie-ups and looser partnerships recently in the container-shipping business.
The alliance is aimed at blunting the power of the major vessel-sharing agreement between the two largest global container lines, Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co., the 2M Alliance, which is the only one of the four alliances that will remain unaffected by what will be a massive reshuffling.
2M started its operations in 2015, and controls more than 2.1 million twenty-foot equivalent units, and manages more than 200 vessels.
Carriers in the CKYHE and G6 alliances will have to scramble for new partners to counter the 2M and the new alliance. Maersk and MSC combined control 27.7 percent of the global container ship fleet, according to industry analyst Alphaliner
The combined quartet of CMA CGM, China Cosco Shipping, Evergreen Line and OOCL would control 23.5 percent of the global fleet. The members of the new alliance and the 2M would control a total of 51.2 percent of global container ship capacity.