MAERSK Line’s innovative Daily Maersk product will remain in place after the Danish line joins forces with Mediterranean Shipping Co and CMA CGM in a vessel operating alliance next year.
The service, which guarantees delivery times between certain ports in Asia and northern Europe regardless of when cargo is delivered to the terminal for shipment, will not be swallowed up into a joint offering by all three.
Shippers have welcomed the delivery reliability that Daily Maersk provides and the compensation paid if cargo is delayed.
Maersk Line chief trade and marketing officer Vincent Clerc confirmed that Daily Maersk would not be absorbed into the P3 Network, which the trio unveiled last week.
“Although the port pairs will be available to all P3 partners, all the software and processes supporting the delivery of the product remain proprietary to Maersk, as it is part of our marketing and sales activities,” Mr Clerc told Lloyd’s List.
Although there is nothing to prevent MSC or CMA CGM offering a similar product, each would have to develop the necessary support infrastructure.
Daily Maersk was introduced in late 2011, with daily cut-offs for cargo shipped from Ningbo, Shanghai, Yantian and Tanjung Pelepas to Felixstowe, Bremerhaven or Rotterdam.
Promised transportation schedules range from 26 days between Tanjung Pelepas to one of the three European destinations, to 36 days from Ningbo.
If it exceeds its promised delivery date between one and three days, Maersk Line pays $100 per container in compensation. Anything over that, and the payment rises to $300.
Although the world’s three largest container lines are putting together an operating alliance that will initially include 255 ships on 29 loops in the main east-west trades, they will continue to market and price their services individually.
Under the new arrangements that the trio hopes will be up and running by the second quarter of 2014, Maersk Line will contribute 42%, or about 1.1m teu; MSC will account for around 34%, or 900,000 teu; and CMA CGM 24%, or 600,000 teu.
The slot allocations will be prearranged, although there will be opportunities to exchange slots according to requirements.
However, this will be agreed through the joint vessel operating centre at a pre-established rate, said Mr Clerc, and there will be no direct communication between the lines, which prevents them identifying the counterparty.
The vessel operating centre will also decide which ships are deployed where, working on the “best vessel for the loop” principle.
The P3 Network will offer eight weekly sailings between Asia and northern Europe. Maersk Line’s Triple-E 18,270 teu ships will be part of the fleet to be run by the new London-headquartered operating centre.