Three of the words major shipping lines that are involved in importing from China have taken the decision to join forces.
CMA-CGM, Maersk and MSC will now operate a joint alliance on east-west trade lanes from 2014.
Importing from China on the Asia – Europe route in addition to the trans-pacific and trans-Atlantic trade lanes will all come under the new P3 Network.
Merging the three separate lines into a single network will give customers who are importing from China and also using the other routes a more reliable, frequent and flexible service say the three shipping lines as an example they are running 8 weekly crossings between Asia and Northern Europe.
Between the three shipping companies the number of TEU (Twenty Equivalent Foot) will be in excess of 2.5 million per annum.
The change for customers importing from China will begin in the second quarter of 2014 pending final approval from competition and other authorities and the signing off of the contract from the 3 parties involved.
Concerns have been raised that people utilising routes such as importing from China will remove the choice within the market and will also impact on the price of importing from China where the levels may be artificially increased.
The new alliance, if agreed and goes operational, would make up approximately 40 to 45% holding on the trade lane between Europe and Asia which will no doubt effect companies importing from China and is quite significantly higher than what is permitted under the EU’s block exemption for shipping line consortia.
While there is still a long way to go and nothing has been set in stone this could potentially change the make up within the markets mentioned and in particular those who are currently importing from China.