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Russbroker Charter Market Commentary

MSC and Maersk shut out CMA CGM

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It was expected to be the biggest vessel-sharing agreement (VSA) in shipping history. Shortly after it was rejected by the Chinese authorities, the two Ms – MSC and Maersk – introduced their Plan B for a VSA, now just between the two mega carriers. 

This leaves CMA CGM looking for new VSA partners, which could eventually be UASC and the two Chinese lines Cosco and CSCL.

In the meantime, uncertainties persist about feeder business in the Caribbean, sourcing from the new groupings, because schedule details have not yet been released for 2M or for any other new VSA.

Long before the rise of 2M, Chiquita and MSC announced a VSA covering the NCSA & ECCA/US Gulf & Florida region, with tonnage provided by MSC and services operated by Chiquita focusing on the volume of reefers provided by Chiquita and combining it with cargoes of MSC on modern 2,500 teu vessels with a high reefer plug capacity which MSC has taken on hire worldwide. This VSA is likely to release Chiquita’s chartered ageing and uneconomic vessels of 868 teu / 434 reefers / geared into an uncertain future.

In the meantime, competition with the Panama Canal is hotting up in Nicaragua. The HKND Group aims to begin construction of the new canal by the end of this year. HKND plans to build container terminals at either end of the canal. According to reports, Maersk intends to support the new canal.

Read more: Russbroker Charter Market Commentary