The dissolution of the 2M alliance between MSC and Maersk in 2025 could lead to challenges in shipping rates, according to John Fossey of Drewry Shipping Consultants. With an excess of capacity and limited freight, carriers may prioritize market share over price discipline. The supply of shipping capacity is projected to exceed demand from 2022 onward, with growth rates of 0.5% in 2022 and 2.6% and 2.9% in 2024-25. However, demand is expected to outperform capacity growth only in 2021. Drewry has revised its forecast for global container movements, now predicting 935 million TEU by 2035 instead of surpassing 1 billion TEU in 2027.
Although MSC and Maersk are pursuing independent services, they are still cooperating with each other. They have enough vessels to operate three loops each on the Asia to North Europe route. Stefan Verberckmoes of Alphaliner believes that shippers do not require daily sailings from Shanghai, Yantian, and Ningbo, but three a week would be sufficient. Additionally, around 30% of the existing fleet will need to slow steam to comply with stricter carbon intensity regulations, reducing effective capacity by approximately 7%. Congestion at container storage depots and a shortage of maintenance and repair engineers are further challenges for the industry.
Overall, the dissolution of the 2M alliance could lead to lower shipping rates due to excess capacity and limited freight. The supply of shipping capacity is projected to exceed demand from 2022 onward, with only 2021 seeing demand outperforming capacity growth. Drewry has revised its forecast for global container movements, predicting a lower number of TEU by 2035. Despite the split, MSC and Maersk are still cooperating and exploring new vessel sharing agreements. However, challenges such as congestion at container storage depots and a shortage of maintenance and repair engineers are emerging in the industry.