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Shipping giants agree P3 Network pact

Global – Maersk Line, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company and CMA CGM have agreed to establish a ‘long-term operational alliance’ on East-West trades, to be known as the P3 Network. The aim is to improve and optimise operations, as well as to ‘reduce the disruptions for customers caused by cancelled sailings’.

The P3 Network will initially operate a capacity of 2.6 million TEU, representing around 255 vessels on 29 loops involving three trade lanes: Asia-Europe; Trans-Pacific; and Trans-Atlantic. The partnership is based on the existing capacities of each member’, with Maersk Line contributing 42% of the total capacity, while MSC and CMA CGM will account for, respectively, 34% and 24%.

Maersk states: ‘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.’

Additional weekly sailings

Each of the lines will offer more weekly sailings via the combined network than the players do individually. ‘For example,’ Maersk explains, ‘the P3 Network plans to offer eight weekly sailings between Asia and Northern Europe. In addition, the P3 Network will offer more direct ports of call.’

Declining volume growth and overcapacity have lately underlined the need for a more stable and stronger industry, the alliance partners observe. By joining forces, the lines expect to improve vessel capacity utilisation and thus overall efficiency.

Although scheduled for start-up in the second quarter of 2014, the P3 Network arrangement is still subject to the approval of relevant competition and other regulatory authorities. The establishment of the P3 Network also depends on the lines agreeing definitive contracts. Finalisation and signing of the contracts are planned for the final quarter of this year.

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