The service changes are expected to begin in March, subject to approval by the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission and other regulators.
The agreement follows a cooperation agreement the three companies announced last summer that went into effect in September on services between Asia and the U.S. East Coast.
“Having successfully implemented our strategic cooperation, we are very pleased to expand the partnership with ZIM into additional geographies,” said Søren Toft, chief operating officer at A.P. Møller – Maersk. This agreement delivers mutual benefits to both parties. For Maersk it provides operational efficiencies that will enable our continued drive to deliver competitive and reliable products for our customers in the world’s most comprehensive east-west network.”
Eli Glickman, chief executive officer of ZIM, said, “This is a major strategic step, upgrading ZIM’s competitiveness.”
ZIM said the agreement will involve vessel sharing, slot exchanges and purchases and that its capacity will remain about the same.
In the Pacific Northwest, ZIM will contribute four 8,500 TEU ships to the seven vessel string in what is now Maersk’s TP9/MSC’s Maple service. ZIM will call it the ZIM Pacific Pollux (ZP9) service. Currently Maersk operates all seven ships in the string.
ZIM said the new services will replace its ZIM Med Pacific or ZMP service.
Maersk said, “Part of the ZIM slots on the TP9 will be swapped for access to slots on the fully 2M operated TP8 service. There will be no schedule changes to the TP8 and TP9 services."
“Between Asia and the Mediterranean, ZIM gets access to 2M slots on the AE12 and AE15 services. There will be no changes to the AE12 and AE15 schedules, which were announced in December 2018 as part of a network upgrade to further improve Maersk schedule reliability between Asia and Europe/Mediterranean. Those changes are to start on westbound sailings in March 2019.”
ZIM said its rotation on the four services will be as follows:
• ZIM Pacific Pollux (ZP9): Kaohsiung – Xiamen – Yantian – Ningbo – Shanghai – Busan – Vancouver – Seattle - Yokohama – Busan – Kaohsiung.
• ZIM Pacific Procyon (ZP8): Xingang – Qingdao – Shanghai – Busan – Yokohama – Prince Rupert – Xingang.
• Spica Line (ZMS): Pusan – Shanghai – Ningbo – Shekou – Singapore – Port Said East – Yarimca – Istanbul – Asyaport – Piraeus – Singapore – Shekou – Pusan. Maersk calls this string the AE15, MSC calls it the Tiger.
ZIM's schedule omits some ports that Maersk and MSC call with these two Asia-Europe strings.
ZIM said that to supplement and complement its services in the East Mediterranean it “will introduce a new array of exclusive, ZIM-operated feeder lines synchronized with the mainliners and catering to the regional market in a comprehensive and efficient way. A full, detailed announcement regarding the new regional network will be issued separately.”