Delays for 2M Launch Rumoured

Monday September 15, 2014

Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC) planned to meet with regulators from the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) last Friday to address possible delays in the launch of their 2M container shipping alliance, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"There are some worries that the scheduled launch early next year may be delayed as some at the Federal Maritime Commission [in the U.S.] are not that keen on such mega-alliances," said one person involved in the matter.

"So the two partners want to address those concerns early on."

The alliance, which would move about a third of all cargo on the busiest trade routes, was developed after Chinese regulators denied approval to the larger P3 alliance, which would also have included CMA CGM.

"I can't see how the FMC can turn down the 2M as it is smaller than the P3," said Lars Jensen, chief executive of Copenhagen-based SeaIntel Maritime Analysis.

"But the Chinese rejection has given a bigger voice to those at the FMC who have second thoughts about these tie-ups and the 2M wants to clear the air."

FMC member William P. Doyle said recently that he would consult with Chinese regulators about possible concerns with the alliance, even as Maersk Line CEO Søren Skou said 2M is operationally ready to launch.