The future of vessel sharing alliances

MSC and Maersk have already begun to separate their fleets in preparation for the dissolution of the 2M Alliance at the end of next year.

This has led to speculation that the two carriers may agree to end their east-west vessel-sharing alliance early. This split of the 2M Alliance will bring about significant structural changes in the liner market.

The Alliance partners (Hapag-Lloyd, ONE, Yang Ming and HMM) have a combined capacity of 3.1m TEU, similar to the 2M capacity. The Ocean Alliance, (CMA CGM, COSCO, OOCL and Evergreen), is the largest vessel sharing alliance with a combined capacity of 4.22m TEU. This capacity will expand as the Ocean Alliance has a massive order book of 2.8m TEU for delivery from 2024, including 36 ultra-large vessels that will be stemmed for the Asia-Europe trades. 



  • THE Alliance members Hapag-Lloyd, ONE, Yang Ming, and HMM will temporarily halt their FE5 Asia-North Europe and EC4 Asia-US East Coast services from week 46 until further notice due to the current market conditions.
    • THE Alliance is adding port stops to its remaining shipping routes to ensure service coverage.
    • The 2M Alliance is introducing a “winter schedule” on the Asia-North Europe trade from the end of October until mid-December, which will involve blanking one loop for seven consecutive weeks.
    • THE Alliance has suspended a second transpacific shipping route, the EC4 Asia to US East Coast, after suspending the PN3 Asia-US West Coast string last month.
    • Ocean carriers are using a variety of methods to reduce their capacity and match supply with demand, such as cancelling shipping routes, delaying sailings, and slow-steaming their ships. 
    • This has resulted in service suspensions from vessel-sharing alliances. 


  • The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd (COMAC) has delivered the first two freighter conversions of ARJ21 passenger planes.
    • ARJ21s are short- to medium-range turbofan regional aircraft that were independently developed by China.
    • The converted ARJ21 freighter can carry up to 10 tonnes of cargo and fly for up to 2,778 kilometers.
    • The ARJ21 freighter is designed to transport cargo, mail, and express shipments on domestic and short-haul international routes.
    • The program began in May 2020 and was approved by the Civil Aviation Administration of China in January.
    • The ARJ21 freighter could be used to support China’s growing e-commerce and express delivery industries.


  • Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) will open a new cargo terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in early 2025.
    • The terminal will be 346,000 square feet and will increase WFS’ footprint at JFK to over 700,000 square feet.
    • The terminal will have advanced technology and sustainability solutions, including a dock management system, ETV system, and process automation.
    • The terminal will be the first dedicated on-airport handling facility for temperature-controlled pharmaceutical products and perishables cargoes at JFK.
    • The terminal will use renewable energy provided by solar panels and will have energy efficient windows, lighting, ventilation, air conditioning systems, and electric forklifts, slave pallet movers, and GSE equipment.
    • The terminal will have ramp space for three wide-body aircraft.
    • WFS has signed a 15-year lease on the new cargo terminal.




  • The ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp-Bruges have reported reduced container volumes in 2023 so far, with a nine-month TEU drop of 7.2% and 6.8%, respectively, compared to last year.
    • This is due to a number of factors, including the withdrawal of Russian container volumes, inflation, limited economic growth, and a consumer spending shift from products to services.
    • Antwerp-Bruges have announced that the competitiveness of European industry is under pressure due to high energy, raw materials, and labour costs, combined with low global demand.
    • However, Antwerp-Bruges has claimed that its market share within the Hamburg-Le Havre cluster has increased.


  • The UK is at risk of falling behind the EU in decarbonizing heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).
    • Transport & Environment (T&E) said that the UK government’s £200 million funding for truck decarbonisation projects is behind compared to the EU’s progress.
    • The EU has a law that requires charging stations for HGVs to be installed every 60 kilometres along the core network and every 100 kilometres on larger, more comprehensive roads by 2025, with complete network coverage expected by 2030.
    • The EU is also introducing standards that enable truck makers to ramp up production of zero-emission trucks.
    • T&E said that there has been barely any decrease in HGV CO2 emissions from UK HGVs since 1990.

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.



Oct 30 – Ireland (Eire)

Oct 31 – Germany*, Slovenia

Nov 1 – Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany*, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain

Nov 2 – Belgium*, Lithuania

Nov 4 – Finland, Sweden

Nov 9 – Spain*

Nov 11 – Austria*, Belgium, France, Poland

Nov 15 – Austria*, Belgium*

Nov 17 Friday Czech Republic, Slovakia

Nov 18 – Croatia, Latvia

Nov 20 – Latvia

Nov 22 – Germany*

Nov 30 – Romania

December 1 – Portugal, Romania

December 4 – Spain*

December 6 – Finland, Spain

December 8 – Austria, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain

December 13 – Malta

*Not in all regions

The route ahead

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