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Hapag-Lloyd’s departure shakes-up THE Alliance

Shipping pundits are expecting liner alliances to be redrawn, after Maersk Line and Hapag-Lloyd announced on 17 January that they will form Gemini Cooperation in February 2025.

Maersk Line’s tie-up with Hapag-Lloyd coincides with the ending of the Danish giant’s 2M alliance with MSC in January 2025. Thereafter, Hapag-Lloyd will leave THE Alliance, which also comprises HMM, Ocean Network Express (ONE) and Yang Ming.

Simon Sundboell, founder of consultancy eeSea, opined in a LinkedIn post that Hapag-Lloyd, whose capacity is nearly 1.98 million TEUs, is the largest of THE Alliance’s members, and the grouping will not survive without it.

Hapag-Lloyd’s departure means THE Alliance will be left with around 3.3 million TEUs, while Gemini Cooperation will be slightly ahead, with 3.4 million TEUs. Ocean Alliance, made up of CMA CGM, COSCO Shipping Lines and Evergreen Marine Corporation, will be the largest grouping, with over 8.3 million TEUs.

It is likely that the alliance will be scrambling to get new members.

Sundboell noted, “ONE, HMM and Yang Ming are scrambling right now. There’s got to be frantic phone calls between Singapore, Seoul and Taipei as we speak!

“Even CMA CGM and Cosco will be looking over their shoulders in OCEAN; do they want to snap up the remaining THE Alliance carriers, and if so what’s ‘the price’? Or are we looking at a break-up of OCEAN, too (less likely, but possible)? Will we see a two-alliance world, with MSC on the side? Will this spur another round of M&A activity?”

Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen said that “insufficient progress” on reliability was one factor in the German operator’s decision to quit THE Alliance. The Gemini partners aim to achieve a reliability of 90%.

Separately, Yang Ming’s ex-chairman Bronson Hsieh was quoted in the Taiwanese media that Maersk Line and Hapag-Lloyd are culturally and commercially compatible partners.

Hsieh observed, “They’re very ahead of the curve in terms of environmental protection concepts, and both companies have built many dual-fuelled ships. It’s ideal for them to walk together.”

Hsieh stated that operators of a substantial scale will be welcome in any alliance.

In his memoirs, Hsieh recounted that while he headed Yang Ming, HMM was welcomed to THE Alliance after the South Korean flagship operator expanded its fleet. On the contrary, HMM was orphaned when it fell into a liquidity crisis in 2016, as it was left without an alliance partner when the Grand and New World alliances combined to form THE Alliance.

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Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd to form new alliance

Two container giants, Denmark’s Maersk and Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd have signed an agreement for a new long-term operational collaboration.

The new “Gemini Cooperation” is expected to start in February 2025 with the ambition to deliver a “flexible and interconnected ocean network with industry-leading reliability”.

Hapag-Lloyd’s CEO said, “Teaming up with Maersk will help us to further boost the quality we deliver to our customers. Additionally, we will benefit from efficiency gains in our operations and joint efforts to further accelerate the decarbonisation of our industry.”

The new cooperation between the two companies will comprise a fleet pool of around 290 vessels with a combined capacity of 3.4 million TEUs with Maersk deploying 60% and Hapag-Lloyd the remaining 40%.

“We are pleased to enter this cooperation with Hapag-Lloyd, which is the ideal ocean partner on our strategic journey. By entering this cooperation, we will be offering our customers a flexible ocean network that will raise the bar for reliability in the industry. This will strengthen our integrated logistics offering and meet our customers’ needs,” commented Vincent Clerc, CEO of Maersk.

As a part of the agreement, the two companies have set the target of delivering schedule reliability of above 90% once the network is fully phased in.

As a consequence of joining this cooperation, Hapag-Lloyd will leave THE Alliance end of January 2025, when the 2M alliance of Maersk and MSC will also be terminated.

During 2024, Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd will plan the transition from their current alliances to the new operational cooperation, while service to customers will continue along existing agreements.


Source: Container News

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Hapag-Lloyd applies new GRI from Asia

Hapag-Lloyd announced a General Rate Increase (GRI) from Asia, excluding Japan, to the West Coast of Latin America, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.

The new GRI will apply to cargo transported in 20’ and 40’ dry containers, including high cube equipment and 40’ non-operative reefers and will be effective from 16 October until further notice.

The German ocean carrier said it will increase its rates by US$250 per 20′ dry container and US$500 per 40′ dry container/40′ high cube container/40’ non-operative reefer.

Regarding the geographical scope of this rate increase, Asia includes China, Macau, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos and Brunei and the West Coast of Latin America, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America covers the following countries: Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Honduras, Guatemala and Panama.

Source: Container News

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Evergreen temporarily loses ground in TEU rankings; ready to climb higher

Taiwanese ocean carrier Evergreen has lost the sixth spot in the global liner rankings by Singapore-headquartered Ocean Network Express (ONE), according to the latest data (23 August) by Alphaliner.

This is not expected to be a permanent change, as Evergreen’s newbuilding orderbook is significantly larger than ONE’s. The Taipei-based box carrier is looking even higher, as it is very likely to surpass German Hapag-Lloyd, based on the companies’ current newbuilding boxship orders.

However, the Hamburg-based firm seems to explore its options in order to maintain and enhance its global presence. Hapag-Lloyd has lately emerged as another possible buyer of South Korean box line HMM.

In the case of HMM acquisition by Hapag-Lloyd, the Germans will secure their current fifth spot and will be able to challenge Chinese shipping giant COSCO for the fourth spot. Additionally, the potential takeover of HMM will bring a near double-digit market share for the first time in Hapag-Lloyd’s history.

Furthermore, regarding the “podium” of Alphaliner rankings, MSC remains at the top widening its gap from its Danish and French competitors, while as already reported CMA CGM is on track to surpass Maersk and become the second-largest container carrier in the world.

Source: Container News

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Carriers attempt PSS for India-US cargo after modest GRI success

Container lines appear to have regained some bargaining power to lift freight rates on the India-US trade lane after managing partial recovery from recent general rate increase (GRI) attempts.

Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC) and CMA CGM have lined up a new round of peak season surcharges (PSS) for India-US shipments.

MSC will apply a PSS of US$500 per container for all cargo from India to the US and San Juan (Puerto Rico), from 15 August. The Geneva-based carrier said the surcharge is necessary to “maintain a high level of reliability and efficiency of its services to the needs of customers.”

French liner CMA CGM has announced a PSS levy of US$350 per 20-foot/40-foot box and US$550 per 45-foot hi-cube box for Indian container loads to the US East and Gulf coasts, from 1 September.

Other major carriers, including Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd, also plan to hike rates on the same trade through general rate increase (GRI) activity.

For shipments from India to the US and Canada, Maersk will attempt a GRI of US$350 per 20-foot, US$500 per 40-foot, US$750 per 45-foot hi-cube and US$1,000 per 40-foot reefer box, also starting 1 September.

Hapag-Lloyd has instituted a hike of US$200 per container for all types of Indian cargo to the US East Coast.

“This GRI/general rate adjustment is applicable to all containers gated in full from 1 September and is valid until further notice,” stated the carrier in a customer advisory.

However, glaringly, carriers have adopted a pragmatic approach – seeking more moderate increases, instead of hefty amounts that typically hit the market in the lead up to so-called peak shipping season.

Indian exports have seen sharp declines in recent months, a trend industry observers believe is unlikely to turn around any time soon amid weakening demand conditions across major economies. Indian goods exports by value slumped 22% year-over-year in June, according to the latest government data.

Meanwhile, carriers — offering regular calls out of India’s west coast — continue to deal with considerable cargo flow challenges at Mundra Port, India’s largest box gateway, following recent cyclone-induced disruptions.

Customs house brokers at Mundra have expressed serious concerns over empty container pickups and drops from storage yards, noting the bottlenecks are straining cargo flows for exporters/importers.

“We suggest shipping lines set up new empty yards inside the port area with all required equipment and good infrastructure to enable us to locate empty containers inside the port area and it will also reduce the cost of transportation and save valuable resources,” noted the Mundra Customs Brokers’ Association in a communique to all stakeholders.

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THE Alliance set to raise capacity on Asia-North Europe service

Capacity on THE Alliance’s FE3 Far East – North Europe loop is expected to increase, as Hapag-Lloyd and Ocean Network Express (ONE) will take delivery of four more 24,000 TEU newbuildings in July and August. The four ships will replace vessels in the size range from 13,400 to 19,870 TEU, according to Alphaliner.

THE Alliance’s third Asia – North Europe loop used to be operated with a mix of 16,010 TEU vessels from HMM and Hapag-Lloyd’s vessels that have a nominal capacity of 14,993 TEU.

HMM’s 23,964 TEU HMM Le Havre, delivered in April, began the capacity upgrade in April, after which it was joined by several similar-sized vessels.

The FE3 currently turns in 12 weeks with a dozen ships ranging from 13,400 to 24,100 TEU, calling at Ningbo, Xiamen, Kaohsiung, Yantian, Singapore, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Antwerp, Southampton, Algeciras, Singapore, Yantian, Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, and Ningbo.

ONE’s new 24,136 TEU flagship ONE Innovation joined the fleet earlier in June in Ningbo and two more sister vessels are scheduled to phase into the service soon. ONE Infinity will join on 16 July, followed by ONE Integrity on 30 July.

Hapag-Lloyd’s new LNG-powered 23,666 TEU flagship vessels will also join the FE3 soon, starting with the Manila Express on 6 August. The lead ship of this series, the Berlin Express, was delivered on 14 June, but it has not joined the Asia – Europe trade yet. The ship will first perform a single round voyage on the Far East – Middle East AG3 service and then join the FE3 on 20 August. Berlin Express is scheduled to debut in its home port of Hamburg where it is expected to be christened on German Unity Day on 3 October.

By then, half of the FE3 fleet will already consist of 24,000 TEU Megamax ships, the largest vessel generation currently in service. Smaller FE3 ships to be replaced in the coming weeks and months include the 13,371 TEU Rome Express and Hapag-Lloyd’s first LNG-powered ship, the 14,600 TEU Brussels Express. The latter will be shifted to the Asia – Mediterranean MD2 loop.

Source: Container News

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Hapag-Lloyd reports lower box volumes amid Q1 revenue and profit decline

Hapag-Lloyd ended the first quarter of 2023 with container volumes 4.9% lower than in the first quarter of last year, at 2,842,000 TEUs.

According to the German company, this is the result of local destocking and weaker overall global demand.

In addition, the lower average freight rate of US$1,999/TEU was particularly responsible for the decline in revenue, which decreased to US$6 billion in the first three months of the year.

Meanwhile, transport expenses remained at the prior-year level of US$3.3 billion. “This will undoubtedly have an impact on our earnings over the course of the year, so we will be keeping a very close eye on our costs. In addition, we are pressing ahead on further developing our Group’s ‘Strategy 2030’, which will focus on quality and sustainability,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd AG.

Furthermore, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of Hapag-Lloyd fell year-on-year to US$2.4 billion, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) decreased to US$1.9 billion and the company’s profit more than halved to US$2 billion.

For the full year 2023, Hapag-Lloyd confirmed the forecast of 2 March, according to which EBITDA is expected to be in the range of US$4.3 – 6.5 billion and EBIT to be in the range of US$2.1 – 4.3 billion.

“However, the ongoing war in Ukraine, other geopolitical uncertainties and persistent inflationary pressures are creating risks that could negatively impact the forecast,” noted the Hamburg-based ocean carrier.

Source: Container News

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Hapag-Lloyd implements new rate increase from East Asia to North America

Hapag-Lloyd announced a general rate increase (GRI) from East Asia to North America for cargo transported in dry, reefer and special containers, including high cube equipment.

More specifically, there will be a rate increase of US$800 per all 20′ container types and a US$1,000 increase per all 40′ container types.

The German ocean carrier said the general rate increase will be applicable to all containers gated in full from 1 May 2023 and will be valid until further notice.

The GRI will be applied from Japan, Republic of Korea, Taiwan (PRC), Hong Kong (PRC), China (PRC), Macau (PRC), Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines to the United States and Canada.

Source: Container News

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Hapag-Lloyd to improve berth alignment process through Portchain platform

Portchain has announced a five-year global partnership with Hapag-Lloyd to deploy Portchain Connect across the German ocean carrier’s global operations.

Portchain Connect digitises the process of aligning berths between carriers and terminals, enabling them to make earlier and more frequent scheduling decisions.

Using Portchain Connect, Hapag-Lloyd’s goal is to transform traditional email and phone communication into a digital information flow for aligning berth arrival information with terminals, giving its terminal network immediate access to schedule updates and key vessel call information on the platform.

The alignment process enables the opportunity to capture the benefits of Just-In-Time (JIT) arrivals, which the International Maritime Organization (IMO) estimates can reduce CO2 emissions and bunker consumption by 5.9% in the 24 hours leading up to arrival.

“We are delighted to be working with Portchain on digitising and streamlining our berth alignment processes and look forward to creating value for our important Terminal partners throughout our network,” commented Andrew Allen, director – terminal partnering, Hapag-Lloyd.

He added, “We believe in the power of leveraging automated data flows to optimize our Port Calls and create transparency and efficiency for our valued Marine and Port Operations teams globally.’’

Source: Container News

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More schedule disruptions seen coming for Indian shippers

Schedule reliability is becoming a greater concern for Indian shippers as they scramble to find more vessel space necessary to hit fiscal year-end shipment target goals.

Hapag-Lloyd’s East Africa-India Service (EA2) is skipping Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (Nhava Sheva) and Mundra on its current voyage, the two port calls in India. Nhava Sheva and Mundra together handle the chunk of Indian containerised trade.

“MV Emirates Asante V02205N/V02210S will omit Nhava Sheva and Mundra, India, and imports will be discharged in Jebel Ali, UAE, for further connection to their final port of delivery,” the German carrier said in a customer advisory.

Hapag-Lloyd is expected to announce similar changes for further EA2 sailings.

The Indamex 2 (IN2) Service between India and US East Coast – a consortium arrangement between Hapag-Lloyd and CMA CGM – is due to omitting New York on its seven sailings scheduled between March and April, in addition to downsizing calls to Port Qasim (Pakistan) to biweekly from weekly on six westbound voyages.

As a result, IN2 now has the following port rotation: Port Qasim (biweekly), Mundra, Nhava Sheva, Norfolk, Savannah and Port Qasim.

The rotation changes run from sailing APL California, which was to depart from Port Qasim on 6 March.

Hapag-Lloyd said the rotation modifications would help to overcome the continuing congestion on the US East Coast.

On the India-Europe trade lane, EPIC Service will skip Hazira Port, one of its three port calls in India, between March and April. Hazira is critical to North India hinterland cargo connectivity.

The change begins with the vessel Sofia Express (voyage 2309W) and runs until the vessel Tsingtao Express (voyage 2316W) – with departures scheduled from JNPT on 5 March and 23 April, respectively, according to a customer advisory issued by Hapag-Lloyd.

Given the port call cancellations, the carrier noted that shippers have options via Mundra (India) for westbound shipments and via Jebel Ali (UAE) for eastbound cargo.

“These changes will be in place during Q1 2022 to help improve the service’s schedule reliability,” noted the company.

An array of other service rearrangements are also on the cards for Indian exporters and importers. For example, China-India Service

The CIX service will have no eastbound sailings from Colombo (Sri Lanka) on 15 April and 20 May. Colombo handles the majority of Indian transshipment cargo, especially to/from the southern region.

Additionally, the South East India–Europe Express (IEX) Service, linking to North Europe and the Mediterranean, has already announced weeks of voyage cancellations for India’s Visakhapatnam Port, from February through May.

Source: Container News

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