MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. has announced a 10 year Vessel Sharing Agreement (VSA) with Maersk Line that will cover the three main East-West trade lanes: Asia-Europe, Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic. It will replace all current VSAs and slot purchase agreements that MSC has with Maersk Line on these trades. This new VSA service co-operation will be known as 2M and will provide approximately 185 vessels with an estimated capacity of 2.1 million TEUs operating 21 strings. Maersk Line will contribute with approximately 110 vessels with a nominal capacity of approximately 1.2 million TEUs (55 per cent of the total capacity). MSC will contribute approximately 75 vessels with a nominal capacity of approximately 0.9 million TEUs.

“MSC is pleased to have reached this agreement with Maersk Line. It represents another positive step in our continual drive to enhance our operational network in terms of scope, scale, efficiency and reliability. Our customers will be able to enjoy these benefits alongside the world class customer service that has been the cornerstone of our business since our formation in 1970.” says Diego Aponte, MSC Vice President.

Mr. Aponte continued “The 2M Vessel Sharing Agreement will enable us to achieve significant reductions in fuel consumption, driving down the carbon footprint of our shipping operations. With sustainability a key area of focus for MSC, we’re delighted that this vessel sharing agreement will mean major cuts in emissions while simultaneously enhancing our service to customers.”

Unlike P3, this VSA cooperation agreement will have a smaller combined market share and operate just as a VSA without any separate independent organisation with executive powers managing this network. The VSA will improve the network efficiency and allow for lower slot costs through improved utilisation of vessel capacity and economies of scale. Customers will benefit through more sailings and direct port pairs. The VSA does not include joint marine operations. Each party will execute its own operations including stowage, voyage planning and port operations.

The VSA is expected to start early 2015. The starting date is conditioned by filing of information to and in some cases approvals by relevant maritime authorities.