South Korean shipper Hyundai Merchant Marine Co Ltd said on Thursday that it had signed a preliminary deal to join a 2M vessel-sharing alliance of Maersk Line
and Mediterranean Shipping
Co (MSC), the world's two largest container shippers.
The deal with the "2M carriers," which would take effect in April 2017, would enable the South Korean firm to strengthen its service offering and achieve improved cost competitiveness, the company said in a statement.
"The 2M carriers will benefit from a reinforced service competency in Asia and improved network cover in the trans-pacific area," the company said.
Joining the alliance was one of the preconditions set out in the debt-restructuring agreement made between heavily-indebted Hyundai Merchant Marine and its creditors.
Container lines, which transport everything from bananas to iPhones, are struggling with the confluence of a glut of ships, a faltering global economy and weaker consumer demand.
"In accordance with the completion of such preconditions, the planned debt-for-equity swap by creditors will be executed as planned," Hyundai Merchant Marine said.
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in Seoul; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)