Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) is entering into a “strategic co-operation” with Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), that is said to involve a combination of slot exchanges and slot purchases between the three parties.
In a statement posted on the South Korean carrier’s Website on December 11, the agreement was noted to be “outside the scope of 2M vessel-sharing agreement” between Maersk and MSC.
“However, [it] will benefit the 2M network and provide new opportunities, not least in the trans-Pacific trade,” states HMM.
“The agreement is scheduled to begin in April 2017 subject to regulatory approval. The initial term of the co-operation is three years and covers key east-west trades.”
Maersk and MSC are also expected to assume various charters and operation of vessels currently chartered to HMM.
Having signed a memorandum of understanding with 2M earlier in the year, HMM had until even recently disputed speculation that it was not intending to become a fully-fledged member of the alliance.
It is understood that joining an alliance with major carriers was a condition of a debt restructuring deal struck between HMM and creditors earlier in the year. Main creditor, the state-backed Korea Development Bank, has reportedly said it has not yet decided its position on the agreement but was looking at it “in a positive light”.