The following is the text of a news release from Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL):
(TOKYO) — Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Nippon Yusen Kaisha, “K” Line, Hanjin, Hapag-Lloyd and Yang Ming have agreed to create a new alliance covering all East-West trade lanes, namely Asia-Europe/Mediterranean, Asia-North America West Coast, Asia-North America East Coast, trans-Atlantic and Asia-Middle East/Persian Gulf/Red Sea. A binding agreement has been concluded by all partners and THE Alliance is scheduled to begin operation in April 2017, subject to approval of all relevant regulatory authorities. The initial term of the cooperation will be five years.
The new partnership will build one of the leading networks in the container shipping industry, combining approximately 3.5 million TEU or an 18 percent share of the global container fleet capacity. All six partners operate advanced and competitive fleets with more than 620 ships in total. This will become the basis of a dedicated fleet deployed into the group's future service portfolio.
Ongoing discussions between Hapag-Lloyd and UASC are progressing according to plan, although an agreement on business combination has not yet been reached and will in any event be subject to regulatory approvals. It is anticipated that UASC will become part of THE Alliance, which will increase the overall alliance capacity to more than 4 million TEU.
“This agreement is a milestone and will enable the six partners of THE Alliance to offer sailing frequencies and direct coverage in the market,” member carriers said in a statement. “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. ”
More details on the services and port rotations will be published when all necessary preparations are finalized.