Hamburg Süd’s container volumes on the major east-west tradelanes will transfer to the 2M alliance of Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company as of April 1 this year.

Covering Asia-North Europe, Asia-Mediterranean, Trans Atlantic and Trans Pacific services, the new slot purchase agreement has been reached in anticipation of Hamburg Süd terminating its existing agreements in the tradelanes ahead of its acquisition by Maersk.

Hamburg Süd executive board member Frank Smet expressed satisfaction with the development.

“Our customers will benefit from extended port coverage, best transit times, and an increased number of loops in the east-west trades,” he says.

Adds Maersk Line chief operating officer Søren Toft: “Accommodating these additional volumes enables improved utilisation in our fleet and in turn provides opportunities to enhance our customer offering on select trades in our east-west network.”

The parties are expected to soon disclose information about consequent network changes and schedules.

Maersk and Hamburg Süd are party to a number of such operational agreements worldwide.

However, the former has stated this particular agreement is not related to its pending acquisition of what is currently the world’s seventh-largest containerline, with Hamburg Süd operating 130 containerships, equating to total capacity of 625,000 TEU.

Expected to be completed at the end of this year, that acquisition will provide Maersk — already the largest global containerline — with 741 containerships, equating to total capacity of 3.8 million TEU (18.6% share of global capacity).