Ocean Alliance Extends Deal for Five More Years

The word 'shipping' on the side of a Cosco Shipping vessel
Updated Published

The consortium of container shipping companies, known as the Ocean Alliance, has decided to prolong their collaboration for an additional five years.

Initially established in 2017 with a 10-year agreement, the alliance, consisting of CMA CGM, Cosco Shipping, Evergreen, and OOCL, has committed to extend their vessel-sharing partnership through the end of March 2032.

This extension contradicts the expectations of Lars Jensen, the CEO of the Danish consulting firm Vespucci Maritime. He expressed his surprise in a LinkedIn post on Tuesday, stating, “I had expected them to split up, but here we are.”

This development occurs as the maritime industry observes changes within other major global shipping alliances. The 2M alliance between Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) is set to conclude next year, while Hapag-Lloyd has announced its departure from THE Alliance, which includes HMM, Ocean Network Express (ONE), and Yang Ming. Hapag-Lloyd has opted to form a new partnership called Gemini Cooperation with Maersk, slated to commence in February 2025.

Despite speculation that one of the Ocean Alliance members might switch to THE Alliance in 2027 to compensate for Hapag-Lloyd's departure, such a move now appears improbable within this decade.

Jensen remarked on the evolving dynamics of the liner industry, particularly on east-west routes, with the establishment of both the Ocean Alliance and Gemini Cooperation. He highlighted the challenge facing THE Alliance members ONE, HMM, and Yang Ming in finding a suitable replacement for Hapag-Lloyd.

Market rumors have suggested Wan Hai could be a potential new member of THE Alliance. However, Jensen pointed out that the Taiwanese shipping line would not sufficiently fill the vacancy left by Hapag-Lloyd.

Jensen anticipates that MSC will likely proceed independently. He commented, “They have the scale to do so, and the flexibility associated with not having to compromise with partners is indeed valuable.”