MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Co.) and Maersk announced that their 10-year 2M Alliance will end in January 2025. The two carriers currently have a complex partnership that covers 30 loops and strings on all major trade lanes.
The two carriers have started pursuing different strategies in recent years. MSC has focused on growth, becoming the largest container line by tonnage. They have plans to growth their global container fleet by 35%, with more ships on order.
In contrast, Maersk has focused on growing integrated offerings, rather than expanding their fleet. They have accelerated their integrated strategy with a series of acquisitions, including purchasing air freight forwarded Senator International for $644 million.
The 2M Alliance was first formed in 2015, when 20,000+ TEU ships first entered the market. The alliance was a good tool to ensure the larger ships were fully utilized. But Maersk’s new integrated strategy requires them to have more control over their ocean network, and provide agility and flexibility when demand changes.
The breakup between MSC and Maersk raises the question whether the carriers will seek new alliance partners, which could reshape the other two networks of THE Alliance (ONE, HMM, Hapag-Lloyd, and Yang Ming) and the Ocean Alliance (COSCO, OOCL, Evergreen and CMA). Some anticipate that MSC’s large tonnage could mean that they could remain alone.
MSC, Maersk to end 2M Alliance amid divergent strategies on ocean capacity, Journal of Commerce, Jan 25, 2023. Accessed Feb 3, 2023.