2M alliance to end as MSC and Maersk announce split

Carriers, AP Moller-Maersk and MSC, announced in a press release last week that their 2M alliance will end. It is expected that the alliance will remain until January 2025 as the 2M agreement requires a 2 year notice of termination period however, there is possibility this could come earlier if both MSC and Mearsk agree. 

The alliance which began in 2015 operates over 200 ships and serves more than 200 ports globally, serving around 40% of the world’s container trade. According to Drewry this split could leave Maersk in a tight spot as it is too big to join an existing alliance, however too small to operate independently. 

It remains to be seen what impact this will have on the industry and whether this will trigger a domino effect on other alliances, as carriers breakaway from their agreements to secure market share in a hostile economic environment.



  • Demand and manufacturing activity in China is still low following Chinese New Year
    • This has resulted in an extensive blank sailing forecast with predictions that up to 50% of schedule capacity between Asia and Europe in weeks 6 and 7 will be blanked. 
    • We recommend shippers reach out to their forwarding partners to book two weeks in advance of departure due to the blank sailings. 
    • While capacity remains high it is expected that the blank sailing programs will continue.
  • Although rates are low the extensive blank sailings seem to have slowed the rate reductions on Transpacific trade.


Central China to USA and Europe 

  • Rates have remained stable  this week from SHA to Europe and the USA.
    •  Some factories and trucking companies have not started operations again after Chinese New Year (CNY),  so the market currently lacks cargo.
  • Rates have increased from NGB to Europe and the USA. This is due shippers wanting cargo to be shipped during CNY, resulting in very little available space.

North China to USA and Europe 

  • From TSN to Europe and the USA, rates have dropped  as the market is sluggish following CNY. 
  • From PEK  to Europe and the USA, rates have dropped  as the market is sluggish following CNY. 
  • From TAO to the USA, rates  have decreased this week compared to last week. 
  • From CKG to Europe, rates remain the same as most carriers have not been fully utilised with cargo. Rates have risen slightly from CKG to the USA. 

South China to USA and Europe 

  • From  CAN to Europe and the USA rates have remained stable as the market cools following CNY. 
    • Some factories and trucking companies have not started operations again after Chinese New Year (CNY),  so space is available. 
  • From SZX to Europe and the USA, the market is stable and rates can be negotiated with carriers on a case-by-case basis. 
  • From XMN to Europe and the USA rates have remained the same compared to last week.


  • The National Retail Federation anticipates the lowest level of imports for the past three years in February.  
    • It is forecasted that there will be 1.63 million TEU of imports in February 
    • This represents a 23% drop year on year. 
  • Congestion levels remain good in the US with no more that 6 ships waiting to berth at any one port.
  • Transatlantic trade rates have declined this week.
    • Carriers have begun to shift capacity to the Transatlantic trade lane which is resulting in the rates falling. 
    • It is expected that the lane capacity will grow by 40% in early 2023 as carriers shift more vessels onto the lane.


  • The port of Rotterdam has reported a slight decrease in accidents in 2022 compared with the previous year. 
    • 137 accidents were reported in 2022 compared with 141 in 2021.
    • This reduction in accidents is attributed to improved camera networks to monitor vessels and a decline in recreational sailing.


  • A strike of up to 100,000 civil service members of the Public and Commercial Services will take place on Wednesday 1st February. 
    • This strike action will include some Border Force members which may impact the movement of goods through ports and airports. 
    • The JCCC (Joint Customs Consultative Committee) has advised  traders to move goods outside of this period, if possible, but if a postponement is not possible, traders should be braced for possible delays at ports and Inland Border Facilities (IBF).
    • Disruptions from the strike are expected to continue into Thursday 2nd February and potentially further as returning workers deal with backlogs.


  • Road freight prices surged over the Christmas period. 
    •  The average price-per-mile across UK haulage vehicles rose by 5.6% overall in December compared to November.
    • Despite this recent increase, haulage prices have, in fact, dropped by 9.8% in the past year. A 13.1% drop in the haulage price-per–mile coming into January 2022 means prices are still lower than this time last year.
  • Almost half of HGV (47%)  drivers are due to reach retirement age in the next 10 years
    • This is sparking fears that not enough is being done to address the impending driver shortage and attract new drivers to the industry. 
    • Some industry professionals are calling for support in the form of international drivers and asking that visa requirements are relaxed.

European Bank Holidays

We anticipate a shortage of availability and the occurrence of delays around the bank holiday periods. Plan ahead and allow extra time for your products to be delivered.

January  23 – Romania

January  24 – Romania 

February  6 – Ireland

February  8 – Slovenia

February 10 – Malta 

February 16 – Lithuania

February 20 – Luxembourg*

February 21 – Portugal*, Spain* 

February 28 – Spain

*Not in all regions

The route ahead

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