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Feb.09, 2015

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22 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE www.joc.com FEBRUARY 9.2015 TRANS-ATLANTIC MARITIME SPECIAL REPORT WHEN THE MAERSK Kotka called at Charleston and Savannah on Jan. 30 and 31 on a Europe- U.S. Gulf-Mexico-U.S. South Atlantic rotation, there was nothing unusual about the service, but for one big thing: It marked the fi rst call at those ports by a ship on the revamped trans-Atlantic TA3 service jointly operated by Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co. in the new 2M Alliance. The two carriers in January started four Europe-North America services and two Med- iterranean-North America loops, and also will operate direct services connecting the North American east coast with Italy and Spain, and a service from the Turkey area. The launch of the 2M, together with the expansion of trans-Atlantic services by the G6 Alliance last year and plans by the Ocean Three Alliance to enter the trade at some point this year, will have a huge, yet unknown, impact. Shippers and competing carriers alike are wondering what impact these new alli- ances will have on the trade. Will they add more capacity and put downward pressure on freight rates? Will competing carriers cut rates to maintain their market share? Time will tell, of course, but for now, it may be diffi cult for carriers to nail down general rate increases, even though total vessel capacity on the trade hasn't increased, unlike the other east- west trades. "With Maersk and MSC finally getting their act together, and with the G6 and UASC and CMA CGM putting some new programs BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC The launch of new alliances brings uncertainty to a mature, yet growing, market By Peter T. Leach

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