The liner shipping scene was caught by surprise last week when Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd announced a new partnership on the main East – West routes, starting in February 2025 under the name “Gemini Cooperation”.
The announcement marks a U-turn in Maersk’s stance to “operate independently” after the end of the 2M partnership with MSC. It will also see Hapag-Lloyd leave THE Alliance after eight years. The carriers’ choice of a “hub & spoke” network with very limited port calls on deep sea loops is more than noteworthy. Contrary to today’s “traditional” alliances that are typically limited to deep-sea services, Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd will jointly operate a fair number of regional shuttles, which will feed the “lean” deep sea loops of “Gemini”.