Amidst the alliance scramble that began in April, a new alliance has developed between six carriers. Known as “THE Alliance”, the efforts to form this alliance was led by German carrier Hapag-Lloyd and includes Taiwan carrier Yang Ming, South Korean carrier Hanjin, as well as the Japanese carrier trio K Line, NYK, and MOL. This five-year agreement is expected to take effect beginning April 2017.
It is important to note that former alliance carriers HMM and UASC were notably missing from this newly-formed alliance. However, the more-than-likely merger between Hapag-Lloyd and UASC is all but a guarantee that the Dubai-based carrier will join the alliance soon. Rolf Habben Jansen, the chief executive of Hapag-Lloyd, briefly discussed this topic, mentioning that “it is anticipated that UASC will become part of THE Alliance”.
Major concerns regarding the South Korean carrier HMM have developed further after news of this alliance broke out. The financially-struggling carrier issued a statement regarding its absence from THE Alliance, stating that the alliance is “tentative by its nature, and its member companies are yet to be finalised.” The carrier is looking to join the alliance in early June, following the scheduled completion of the company’s business normalisation.
HMM’s main creditor, Korea Development Bank (KDB), testifies to this notion, stating the HMM’s membership in THE Alliance is simply being postponed and that the carrier remains to have the bank’s full support. KDB have been actively appealing to all groups, including stakeholders and other financial institutions, to “join hands supporting HMM”, insisting their cooperation is essential to the success of the debt-ridden HMM. As the landscape of the industry continues to shift, all eyes are on HMM to see what actions the carrier will take in order to stay afloat and find success again.