Container giants MSC & Maersk terminate their alliance: Opportunity for Rotterdam?

Bart Kuipers, senior research port economics at Erasmus School of Economics

MSC & Maersk, two container giants whose combined container trade is responsible for one third in the world, have decided to end their alliance per January 2025, which they initiated in 2015. Why did they make this decision? And what consequences will it have? Bart Kuipers, Port economist at Erasmus Centre for Urban, Port and Transport Economics, is asked for his expertise in De Telegraaf (26 January 2023).  

The two shipping companies decided to form an alliance in 2015 to operate more cost efficient on the routes between Asia and Europe and the trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific routes. Kuipers points out however, that the two companies have grown apart significantly over the last few years. 

Diverging strategies 

Maersk focusses on the logistics of major shippers and investing in smaller, more sustainable ethanol-ships, whereas MSC focusses mainly on investing in big ships, the port economist explains. What’s more, MSC’s ships have more and more been focusing on north-south routes whereas Maersk has more and more been focusing on east-west routes. Kuipers therefore expects the impact of the break-up of the alliance to be small. 

Opportunity for Rotterdam 

The port economist sees an interesting opportunity for the Port of Rotterdam in the termination of the alliance. Indeed, Maersk and Hutchinson are already looking for ways to grow together. This paves the way for MSC to grow towards ECT. 

Bart Kuipers, Port economist at Erasmus Centre for Urban, Port and Transport Economics
More information

For the whole item from De Telegraaf, 26 January 2023, click here.

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