Financial TimesFinancial Times

The shipping rivals plotting divergent courses on global trade

By Oliver Telling and Richard Milne

23 Jun 2023 · 10 min read

Editor's Note

In a major industry development, the world's two biggest shipping companies are set to terminate their alliance in 2025. The FT explains what this means for global supply chains and the economy.

Mediterranean Shipping Company and AP Møller-Maersk were always unlikely bedfellows. Yet in 2015, the world’s two biggest container shipping companies set aside their rivalry and shrugged off opposition from regulators to form a capacity-sharing alliance.

Maersk containers could be carried on MSC vessels and vice versa, cutting both groups’ operating costs without reducing the number of ports they could serve. The pact helped reshape container shipping, an industry whose profits had traditionally been tied to the ebbs and flows of the global economy. Within two years, other big players such as France’s CMA CGM, China’s Cosco and German liner Hapag-Lloyd had struck similar deals.

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