Containership Operators Respond to Market Decline, Form Alliance
Maersk Line, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. and CMA CGM have in principle agreed to establish a long-term operational alliance on East – West trades, called the P3 Network. The aim is to improve and optimise operations and service offerings.
The P3 Network will 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.
While the P3 Network vessels will be operated independently by a joint vessel operating centre, the three lines will continue to have fully independent sales, marketing and customer service functions.
Improving services for customers
The P3 Network will provide customers with more stable, frequent and flexible services.
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 8 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 centre.
Need for efficiency
Declining volume growth and over-capacity in recent years have underlined the need to improve operations and efficiency in the industry. This has prompted the creation of other operational alliances such as G6 and CKYH. Using the P3 Network the lines expect to be able improve their efficiency through better utilisation of vessel capacity.
Subject to approval The lines intend to start operations in the 2nd quarter of 2014, but the starting date will be subject to obtaining the approval of relevant competition and other regulatory authorities.
In addition, the establishment of the P3 Network is subject to the lines agreeing on definitive contracts. Finalisation and signing of the contracts is planned for the 4th quarter of this year.