In regards to the imminent end of 2M, senior Maersk officials have informed Alphaliner that the line will be integrated and will not seek to establish another global alliance of container lines to replace its partnership with MSC.
Apart from more limited cooperative efforts on certain routes, the Danish shipping line also plans to operate an independent route network on key trade routes.
Maersk said it would build its future network around flexibility and resilience, and that this could be more reliably achieved when the group is in control of a larger part of the logistics chain.
In particular, the sea-land interface between ships, terminals, road transport, storage and rail would work better in this way.
Maersk is convinced that it will be able to offer more value to its customers outside of an alliance. The carrier added that despite its smaller scale compared to 2M, the shipping line could operate its standalone network at comparable cost.
The independent approach makes sense as recent years of industry-wide liner shipping “chaos” have illustrated the need for more reliable supply chains.
Going solo will also make it easier for Maersk to focus on its “low carbon” shipping approach with a dedicated fleet of new methanol-powered mainliners that will then exclusively transport Maersk cargo.
The question that remains is to what extent customers are willing to financially reward Maersk’s “integrator” and “quality carrier” approach. Past experience shows that cargo owners are highly price driven and shippers’ efforts to establish a “distinguished” product and keep freight rates above market rarely work. In a post-Covid environment with an increased focus on “greener” supply chains, this might have changed.