Japan’s three largest shipping companies - Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), Mitsui O.S.K Lines (MOL), and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K” Line) - and three other carriers worldwide will form the world's third-largest container shipping alliance, reports Nikkei.
The new partnership will begin operations in April 2017 for five years, subject to regulatory approval. The three Japanese shippers will adjust their ports of call and operating schedules on duplicate routes.
The aim of the alliance is to combat the slowing global economy's drag on earnings with higher efficiency.
The companies together boast a fleet of around 620 vessels and container capacity of 3.5 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) - 18% of the global total.
Vessel-sharing on routes between Asia and the U.S., Europe and the Middle East is scheduled to begin in April 2017, pending approval by relevant authorities in each nation.
The world's top and No. 2 container shippers, Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk and Switzerland's Mediterranean Shipping Company, are currently in an alliance that represents 27% of global fleet capacity.
The Nos. 3 and 4 companies, France's CMA CGM and China Cosco Holdings affiliate
Cosco Container Lines, in April formed a tie-up with two other shippers to control 24% of global capacity. These realignments had stirred interest as to how Japanese companies would respond.