The 2M network is complete

Putting in place the world’s largest vessel-sharing agreement has been a challenge for Maersk Line and its partner, Mediterranean Shipping Company. Maersk Sofia is the final ship to join the network, an important milestone for the new partnership.

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Fact

Maersk Line is the world’s largest container shipping company, known for reliable, flexible and eco-efficient services. The Maersk Liner business also includes Safmarine, Seago Line, and MCC. The company operates in over 120 countries around the world and has a fleet of over 600 ships which sail every major trade lane on the globe.

Read more at maerskline.com

“Putting together and launching such a large network in less than six months has been a significant undertaking. Remarkable focus and hard work across all functions in Maersk Line made it possible” says Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer in Maersk Line.

Maersk Sofia’s voyage is a particularly sweet capstone for the 2M deployment given that the implementation of Maersk Line’s new East West network began in the weeks leading up to Lunar New Year, a holiday celebrated across Asia that has a major impact on global supply chains.

“The short period before Lunar New Year is always very hectic because the demand is high. It places a lot of strain on the entire Maersk Line organisation,” says Klaus Rud Sejling, Head of East West Trades for Maersk Line. “Typically, the rate levels are also relatively high in this period which means there is also a financial incentive to make the coordination between all Maersk Line’s many units work seamlessly.”

Putting together and launching such a large network in less than six months has been a significant undertaking. Remarkable focus and hard work across all functions in Maersk Line made it possible.

Soren Toft

SØREN TOFT, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER IN MAERSK LINE

The impact of Lunar New Year on shipping

  • Also known as the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year, the Lunar New Year is the most important holiday of the year in many Asian countries.
  • It happens every year in February and lasts for 15 days, during which Asian economies largely shut down.
  • The impact on global supply chains is dramatic, particularly as Chinese factories rush to finish orders and get them shipped off to market in the weeks before the holiday begins.

The deployment went well, but not without a few hiccups, according to Maersk Line, but the fear that many people in both Maersk Line and MSC had that delays would lead to a massive challenge in the South East Asia hubs has proven unfounded. Despite an expected drop in schedule reliability in these initial months, Maersk Line is confident that it will remain in the top quartile of its peer group as per its commitment.

“This VSA is a good starting base for the future cooperation,” says Lars Mikael Jensen, Regional CEO for the Asia Pacific Region. “We have not met our Q1 volume targets; weaker markets played a factor and not just linked to the phase in. Some customers may have diverted cargo to competition, but the 2M schedule performance has proved this was not necessary. Now, the task is to get these customers back on Maersk Line,” he explains.

Teamwork around issue handling
When things didn’t go according to plan, Maersk Line’s organisation was well prepared.

“The setup of the regional ‘war rooms’ enabled the necessary cross-functional communications amongst the teams to coordinate activities such as terminal changes,” says Tom Sproat, Global Head of Customer Service. “Linking the war rooms together created the platform to raise awareness of issues that were not working well, and identify the patterns much quicker than we typically would have,” Sproat says.

Some customers may have diverted cargo to competition, but the 2M schedule performance has proven this was not necessary. Now, the task is to get these customers back on Maersk Line.

Lars Mikael

LARS MIKAEL JENSEN, REGIONAL CEO FOR THE ASIA PACIFIC REGION

By working together, the Global Service Centres (GSC) and clusters generated the data and improved our speed to market with the information need by customer service to handle issues quickly.

“The GSC was a key driver of creating the data of impacted customers on vessels and getting that to the clusters to phone customers with the corrective action plans as quickly as possible,” says Sproat.

With the final vessel deployed the real test commences. “In the coming months, we will stress-test the network and fine-tune it to ensure that it delivers the benefits we envision for our customers and our business,” says Toft.