By Costas Paris and In-Soo Nam
SEOUL — Some of the biggest Asian and European container-shipping operators left out of a recent wave of industry consolidation said Friday they would form a new alliance, in a bid to rival the dominance of global giants such as Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co.
The new alliance, set to go into operation in April next year, was announced simultaneously in Hamburg and Seoul and consists of the Japanese trio Nippon Yusen K.K. /zigman2/quotes/203488100/delayed JP:9101 -3.54% /zigman2/quotes/208117193/composite NPNYY +1.80% , Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/201857679/delayed JP:9107 -0.10% and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/204152844/delayed JP:9104 -1.27% ; Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd AG /zigman2/quotes/208183265/delayed DE:HLAG -3.35% ; South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping Co. ; and Taiwan’s Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207274746/delayed TW:2609 +0.16%
Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/204437954/delayed KR:011200 -1.33% , currently under restructuring by main creditor Korea Development Bank, said it plans to join the alliance later. Hanjin and HMM move almost all of Korea’s exports.
“The six-member alliance is not final and definitive,” said a Hyundai spokesman. “The door is still open to us. We expect to have no problem joining the group once our debt restructuring program with creditors ends successfully.”
The new grouping, called “THE Alliance,” closes a circle of new partnerships that will dominate the movement of global cargo over the coming years. It is subject to regulatory approvals by U.S., Chinese and European maritime watchdogs.