April 20 - CMA CGM, Cosco Container Lines, Evergreen Line and Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a new container shipping alliance covering the Asia-Europe, Asia-Mediterranean, Asia-Red Sea, Asia-Middle
Dubbed Ocean Alliance, the parties say that the "milestone agreement" will offer fast transit times, competitive sailing frequencies and the "most extensive port coverage in the market".
"This new partnership will allow each of its members to bring significantly improved services to its respective customers," said the lines in a joint statement.
"Shippers will have an attractive selection of frequent departures and direct calls to meet their supply chain needs, including access to a vast network with the largest number of sailings and port rotations connecting markets in Asia, Europe and the United States."
The carriers added: "The alliance will also bring service reliability and the most efficient integration of the latest vessels in a fleet of over 350 containerships. Initially the deployment will cover more than 40 services globally mostly connected with Asia, including about 20 services each in the USA and Europe related trades."
Subject to regulatory approvals of competent authorities, the Ocean Alliance plans to begin operations in April 2017. The initial period of the alliance shall be five years.