Following last year’s announcement that the 2M Alliance carriers would be splitting, it was widely expected that Maersk and MSC would operate independently, however Maersk then made the announcement last week that they were starting a new cooperation agreement with Hapag Lloyd.

This week’s announcement that Maersk and Hapag are forming the ‘Gemini Cooperation’ from February 2025 has certainly set the cat amongst the pigeons, as Hapag are currently members of THE Alliance (THEA).

According to reports, the new Gemini Cooperation will cover seven trades: Asia-US west coast, Asia-US east coast, Asia-Middle East, Asia-Mediterranean, Asia-North Europe, Middle East/India-Europe and the Transatlantic.

The two carriers will operate 26 mainstream services, focusing on their owned and controlled transhipment hubs. The will jointly deploy almost 300 vessels that provide a capacity of 3.4m teu, 60% Maersk and 40% Hapag-Lloyd.

Where that leaves the remaining THEA members – ONE, Yang Ming and HMM – is currently anybody’s guess. We understand the agreement, which included Hapag Lloyd, was not due to expire until 2030.

The Gemini Cooperation has surprised many in the industry, especially since Maersk had indicated their intention to operate solely within their own network. Their CEO has now suggested Hapag are “the ideal partner on our strategic journey” and their cooperation would “raise the bar for reliability in the industry”.

The next few months will undoubtedly give us a clearer picture of where the alliances will settle and the Westbound team are watching the situation with great interest.

If you have any questions regarding the above, then Westbound are here to help. So, please do not hesitate to contact us.