HMM Joins THE Alliance

L to R: Jae-hoon Bae, CEO of HMM; Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd; Jeremy Nixon, CEO of Ocean Network Express; and Bronson Hsieh, CEO of Yang Ming

Published Jul 1, 2019 9:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

South Korean carrier HMM (formerly Hyundai Merchant Marine) announced Monday that it is joining THE Alliance, the ocean carrier alliance comprised of Hapag-Lloyd, ONE and Yang Ming.

The agreement was finalized in Taipei on June 19. Subject to regulatory approval, the new contract between the four lines will officially start on April 1, 2020.

“HMM is a great fit for THE Alliance as they will provide a number of new and modern vessels, which will help us to deliver better quality and be more efficient – and it will help us also to further reduce our emissions," said Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd, in a joint statement.

The new tonnage that HMM will bring to the alliance is significant. With heavy support from the South Korean government, HMM has ordered twelve Korean-built 23,000 TEU vessels, which will be delivered in the second quarter of 2020. They will be among the largest container ships in the world at the time of delivery, and like other "megamax" ULCVs, they are designed for the East Asia-Europe trade lanes. Additionally, eight 15,000 TEU newbuilds will join HMM´s fleet in the second quarter of 2021.

After the collapse of Korean carrier Hanjin Shipping in 2017, HMM attempted to gain full membership in Maersk and MSC's 2M alliance, but the two leading carriers only granted it access to a more limited vessel-sharing agreement. That deal is set to expire next April. According to the Wall Street Journal, executives at Maersk and MSC were displeased by HMM's recent ordering activity, which will place hundreds of thousands of TEU of capacity into oversupplied core east-west trade lanes.

“Being a full member of THE Alliance gives us a lot of pride. We are convinced that we will be successful and generate additional value for our customers, employees and shareholders with combined experience, strategic skills, competitive fleet and strong focus on our clients´ needs," said Jae-hoon Bae, president and CEO of HMM, in a statement Monday.