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In the worst-kept secret in container shipping, the CKYH alliance of Cosco, K Line, Yang Ming and Hanjin Shipping is to team up with Taiwan’s Evergreen Line on the Asia to Europe tradelanes to form an enlarged operational grouping to be known as the CKYHE alliance.

Rumours have abounded over the past few weeks that the lines were close to a deal. Indeed, the trade gossip prompted Evergreen to issue a statement yesterday saying it was “continually reviewing its operational options to better serve customers and increase efficiency of its vessel utilisation”.  It added: “To this end, we are in negotiation with CKYH to establish a new alliance.”

And in a joint press release today, the five parties said they had “agreed in principle” to establish a shipping alliance from March 1, “subject to compliance with the relevant regulations”.

In practical terms, the CKYHE alliance will commence operations in mid-April, with, it says, six services between Asia and North Europe and four loops plying the Asia-Mediterranean tradelane.

Meanwhile, alliance partner Cosco has signed a “strategic co-operation agreement” with compatriot China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL), which encompasses “resource-sharing mechanisms in [the] areas of shipping, terminal operation, logistics, shipbuilding and ship repair”.

It would, therefore, be no surprise to see CSCL also involved to a certain extent in the new CKYHE grouping..

Elsewhere, the G6 alliance has announced its port rotations for the proposed Asia-US west coast and transatlantic services, a total of 17 services in the two tradelanes – 12 transpac and five transatlantic [see The Loadstar‘s Company News].

On Tuesday, the G6 members responded to further questions from the Federal Maritime Commission, which now has until April 4 to ask more questions, seek an injunction or do nothing, the latter effectively giving the alliance the green light to start its services in the second quarter of the year.

The G6 is clearly trying to trump its main rival, the proposed P3 network, by giving shippers details of its service plans, while Maersk Line, MSC and CMA CGM are not yet in a position to issue a joint statement – albeit that the P3 could receive regulatory clearance earlier, by late March.

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