EUROPE-Industry giants Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd have officially inked an agreement to establish a long-term operational collaboration named Gemini Cooperation in response to the escalating challenges posed by disruptions, geopolitical events, and shifting demand in global supply chains. 

The collaboration is set to commence operations on February 1, 2025, with both companies pooling their resources and expertise to create a more reliable and efficient shipping network.

Both Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd, having been part of separate alliances, are now charting a new course with Gemini Cooperation. The move comes as Hapag-Lloyd is set to exit THE Alliance at the end of January 2025, and Maersk and MSC announced the conclusion of their 2M alliance in January 2023.

The joint fleet under Gemini Cooperation will boast approximately 290 vessels, boasting a combined container capacity of 3.4 million TEUs. Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd will contribute 60% and 40% of the vessels, respectively, to offer unparalleled schedule reliability, an extensive global network with competitive transit times, and a reduced carbon footprint.

Vincent Clerc, the Chief Executive Officer of Maersk, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “We are pleased to enter this cooperation with Hapag-Lloyd, which is the ideal ocean partner on our strategic journey. By entering this cooperation, we will be offering our customers a flexible ocean network that will raise the bar for reliability in the industry. This will strengthen our integrated logistics offering and meet our customers’ needs.”

The companies have set an ambitious target of achieving schedule reliability of above 90% once the network is fully phased in. Customers can anticipate improved service quality, enhanced transit times in major port-to-port corridors, and access to well-connected ocean hubs.

Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd, highlighted the advantages of the collaboration, saying, “Teaming up with Maersk will help us to further boost the quality we deliver to our customers. Additionally, we will benefit from efficiency gains in our operations and joint efforts to further accelerate the decarbonization of our industry.”

The Gemini Cooperation will encompass seven major trade routes: Asia/North Europe, Asia/Mediterranean, Middle East–India/Europe, Asia/Middle East, Asia/U.S. East Coast, Asia/U.S. West Coast, and Transatlantic. 

This will include 26 mainline services, supported by a global network of dedicated shuttles operating around owned and controlled transshipment hubs.

The new network’s primary goal is to significantly enhance schedule reliability, and maintain competitive transit times, and frequency, ensuring quality service and delivery commitments to customers. The companies highlighted that fewer port calls per rotation will reduce the risk of disruptions and complexity in execution, providing a more streamlined supply chain management approach.

During 2024, Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd will meticulously plan the transition from their existing alliances to the new operational cooperation, ensuring continued service to customers under existing agreements. In the interim, the 2M alliance will remain a highly reliable network on the East-West trades until January 2025.

For all the latest grains industry news from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our weekly NEWSLETTERS, follow us on LinkedIn, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.