BYLINE: BY PETER T. LEACH AND BILL MONGELLUZZO
Carrier vessel-sharing agreements are old hat, but this one has a surprising twist. Maersk, the world's largest container ship line, is joining the No. 2 and 3 lines, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM, in sharing ships in the trans-Pacific trade.
With cargo volumes flat in the largest U.S. trade lane and operational costs soaring, Maersk Line, CMA CGM and MSC will replace four competing services with three on which the lines will share space. Maersk will drop its TP5 and TP8 services, MSC will end its New Orient Service, and CMA CGM is dropping its Yang Tse Service.
It's a way for the lines to maintain service levels and market share in the slowing trade between Asia and the U.S. West Coast while lowering their operational costs. On the two high-volume China services, the carriers will deploy large, efficient 8,000-TEU vessels, while on the lower-volume Japan and Korea service, they will utilize more appropriate 4,000-TEU vessels.
"The three of us came up with a product that will allow us to fill up these big ships at a competitive
slot cost," said Rodolphe Saade, …