2M begins: First container transported

The vessel sharing agreement between Maersk Line and MSC went into operation over the weekend. A lot of expectation rides on 2M, which will be the backbone for Maersk Line’s new East-West network.

Vessel Sharing
Munkebo Maersk, a Triple-E and the first vessel on Maersk Line’s new East-West network picked up the network’s first container in the port of Dalian in northeast China on Friday 9 January 2015.

From concept to reality: The world’s largest vessel sharing agreement

  • Building Maersk Line’s new East-West network began in Maersk Line’s network planning and design teams. Using historic cargo flows and GDP growth forecasts, designers mapped the likely routes of the vessels.
  • The network deployment team analysed the feasibility of the design, considering cost and operational efficiencies of various vessel types, commercial priorities and a long list of other factors.
  • Discussions with the partner (MSC) followed, confirming schedules, services and vessel selection.

After 6 months of design, planning and discussions, 2M - the world’s largest vessel sharing agreement (VSA) between Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) started operations on Saturday.

Munkebo Maersk, a Triple-E and the first vessel on Maersk Line’s new East-West network picked up the network’s first container in the port of Dalian in northeast China on Friday 9 January, before sailing on to Busan, Korea.
“It’s good news. Now we have to get all 116 of the other vessels in to the network as smoothly as possible,” says Erik Nielsen, Head of Deployment in Maersk Line Operations.

The creation and implementation of 2M has involved (and continues to involve) thousands of Maersk Line employees as well as counterparts at MSC.
And as vessels phase into the new network every week for the next few months, multiple sets of eyes will be on each one of them to ensure any unexpected delays are dealt with quickly.

Vessel map

The new East-West network

  • As a key piece of Maersk Line’s long-term strategy, the vessel sharing agreement (VSA) will run for 10 years and cover all East-West trades. These trades have been characterised by overcapacity and low growth, creating a situation where carriers barely break even on costs and even lose money to provide the service.
  • By sharing the 193 vessels on the 22 strings, the VSA allows both shipping lines to provide greater product options to customers at substantially lower operating cost.
  • Maersk Line’s new East-West network provides 5 more services and dozens more port options in these trade lanes.