Hapag-Lloyd heads the newest container shipping alliance, called THE Alliance. The container operators Hapag-Lloyd, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), K-Line, Hanjin and Yang Ming confirmed the creation of a new alliance, covering East-West trade routes. The agreement on the establishment of THE Alliance is for a period of five years and will come into force in April 2017, as subject of approvals from all the carriers and concerned maritime authorities. The fleet under management of THE Alliance will consist of about 620 vessels with total capacity of about 3.5 million TEU, which represent about 18% of the total capacity of the world container fleet.
“This agreement is a milestone and will enable the six partners of THE Alliance to offer sailing frequencies and direct coverage in the market”, said the official joint statement of the carriers. “The unique product will feature enhanced port coverage in Asia, North America, Europe including the Mediterranean as well as Middle East. The network of THE Alliance will ensure frequent sailings, high reliability and very attractive transit times for all shippers in the East-West trade lanes”, adds the statement.
The statement also notes that THE Alliance is likely to join UASC, in the case of successful completion of negotiations on a merger with Hapag-Lloyd. This would increase the fleet controlled by the container shipping alliance to 4 million TEU. Hyundai Merchant Marine announced that it intends to join the new union later, presumably in June, after an agreement is reached with creditors on restructuring of current debt.