March 22 - Following the news reported on the HLPFI website on March 20 that the Maersk-Rickmers U.S. Flag Project Carrier joint venture is being discontinued, the two partners in the jv, Maersk Line, Limited (MLL) and Rickmers-Linie (Americas) have issue

In the statement, the ex-partners state: "The joint leadership team concluded that market conditions were not favourable for the service and mutually agreed to dissolve the joint venture.

"The US-flag project cargo business has been challenging as more capacity has entered the market, and the market has become less conducive to multipurpose vessels as customers have sought greater service frequency.

"MLL was the owner of the two vessels in the joint venture, Maersk Illinois and Maersk Texas, and it has sold both vessels to Denmark's Thorco Shipping A/S." Readers will recall that the Clipper Group merged its Clipper Projects operation with Thorco Shipping in July 2013.

The statement explains that MLL will continue to serve US-flag project customers using its containerships and ro-ro vessels, which in this competitive market are the best assets to deliver value to US-flag customers."

MLL is the U.S. flag operating company within the Maersk Group.