Hapag-Lloyd Buys Slot Capacity from 2M

The 23,756 TEU capacity MSC Gulsun, the world's largest containership at the time of her delivery, is on the route covered by the agreement (Port of Rotterdam)

Published Jan 17, 2020 2:09 PM by The Maritime Executive

German ocean carrier Hapag-Lloyd, a member of THE Alliance, has signed a slot purchase agreement with the competing 2M alliance of MSC and Maersk on the core Asia-North Europe trade lane.

Hapag-Lloyd is a member of the competing THE Alliance, which recently announced expanded services for 2020, including five Asia-North Europe rotations. Of the carrier alliances, THE Alliance has the fewest vessels in the 18,000 TEU-plus class - just 24 hulls - compared to 61 for the Ocean Alliance and 62 for 2M, according to a recent count by Splash 24/7. These ultra-large, high-efficiency vessels are used primarily on the Asia-Europe routes, as they cannot transit the Panama Canal and are too large for practical use at most ports in the Americas. 2M has a significant ship size advantage on this east-west lane - and therefore a cost advantage, so long as its ships sail full.

THE Alliance will soon benefit from the newly ordered tonnage that its latest member, Korean carrier HMM, will bring to the table later this year. With heavy support from the South Korean government, HMM has ordered twelve Korean-built 23,000 TEU Megamax-24 vessels, which will be delivered in the second quarter of 2020.

"As a member of THE Alliance, Hapag-Lloyd already offers a comprehensive service portfolio. However, to strengthen it even further, Hapag-Lloyd has signed a space charter agreement with Maersk and MSC that will give us access to selected services of 2M," the line said in a statement. "The addition of these services will enable Hapag-Lloyd to offer an even higher frequency of weekly departures and more routing options as well as to directly serve additional ports with high schedule reliability."