Shipping container lines CMA CGM, COSCO Container Lines, Evergreen Line and Orient Overseas Container Line have signed a memorandum of understanding to create a new alliance, known as Ocean Alliance, to enable the companies to offer competitive products and comprehensive service networks.
The comprehensive networks will cover the Asia-Europe, Asia-Mediterranean, Asia-Red Sea, Asia-Middle East, Trans-Pacific, Asia-North America East Coast, and Trans-Atlantic trade routes.
Under the alliance, the shipping companies will offer fast transit times, competitive sailing frequencies, and extensive port coverage to customers.
In a joint statement, member carriers said: "Shippers will have an attractive selection of frequent departures and direct calls to meet their supply chain needs, including access to a vast network with the largest number of sailings and port rotations connecting markets in Asia, Europe and the United States.
"The alliance will also bring service reliability and the most efficient integration of the latest vessels in a fleet of more than 350 containerships.
"Initially the deployment will cover more than 40 services globally mostly connected with Asia, including about 20 services each in the US and Europe related trades."
Following regulatory approvals, the Ocean Alliance will begin operations next year. The initial period for the alliance is five years.
Orient Overseas Container Line CEO Andy Tung said: "The extensive network and port coverage of the new alliance will offer our customers a wide range of choices and highly competitive services for their supply chains.
"The new alliance will also be a platform for our ongoing growth as well as improve our cost and efficiency."