Shipping container lines Hanjin, Hapag-Lloyd, KLine, Mitsui OSK Lines, Nippon Yusen Kaisha and Yang Ming have created a new alliance, called THE Alliance.
THE Alliance is expected to establish a leading network in the container shipping industry with a projected capacity of approximately 3.5 million twenty foot equivalent unit (teu) or 18% share of the global container fleet capacity.
The newly formed alliance will cover all East-West trade lanes namely the, Asia-Europe, Mediterranean, Asia-North America West Coast, Asia-North America East Coast, Transatlantic and Asia-Middle East , Persian Gulf and Red Sea lanes.
Subject to approvals of all relevant regulatory authorities, operation under the agreement is expected to commence next year and the initial term of the cooperation will extend for five years.
The six members have a combined portfolio of a fleet of more than 620 ships which will be dedicated for the groups’ future service portfolio.
Member carriers said in a statement: "This agreement is a milestone and will enable the six partners of THE Alliance to offer sailing frequencies and direct coverage in the market.
"The unique product will feature enhanced port coverage in Asia, North America, and Europe including the Mediterranean as well as Middle East.
"The network of THE Alliance will ensure frequent sailings, high reliability and very attractive transit times for all shippers in the East-West trade lanes."
Ongoing discussions between Hapag-Lloyd and UASC are also being negotiated for possible future inclusion in the alliance.
If UASC joins THE Alliance it will increase the overall alliance capacity to more than four million teu.