Three of the world's top shipping companies, AP Møller-Maersk A/S (Maersk Line), MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA and CMA CGM SA of France, will form a global alliance to boost fleet capacity and reduce operating costs.
Under the alliance, to be called the P3 Network, the partners will commit all vessels deployed on the three trade routes - Asia-Europe, Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic - to a joint vessel operating center (JVOC) that will operate the combined fleet independently.
The partners will continue to have independent sales, customer service and marketing functions. Vessels committed to the P3 Network will also continue to be owned/chartered and funded by the partners.
The alliance, with 255 vessels and a total capacity of 2.6 million containers, will start operations next year, depending on regulatory approvals, Maersk said in a release.
Maersk Line is expected to contribute around 42 per cent of the P3 Network's combined capacity.
The P3 alliance will operate container services between Asia and Europe, across the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.
The P3 Network is expected to provide customers with an improved service offering in terms of a better coverage, improved frequency and higher network stability.
The alliance hopes to keep the clientele happy by reducing the number of cancelled sailings and port calls by ensuring a guaranteed schedule and minimum disruptions.
''P3 will create value by allowing partners to operate with larger vessels while improving utilisation. This will lead to significant environmental benefits from reduced bunker consumption,'' the release noted.
The establishment of the P3 Network will be subject to approval by relevant regulatory authorities and agreement by the partners on definitive contracts. The P3 Network is expected to start operations during 2nd quarter of 2014.
The alliance plan is likely to hit regulatory hurdles in the US and the European union.