Mediterranean Shipping Company and AP Møller-Maersk were always unlikely bedfellows. Yet in 2015, the world’s two biggest container shipping companies set aside their rivalry and shrugged off opposition from regulators to form a capacity-sharing alliance.
Maersk containers could be carried on MSC vessels and vice versa, cutting both groups’ operating costs without reducing the number of ports they could serve. The pact helped reshape container shipping, an industry whose profits had traditionally been tied to the ebbs and flows of the global economy. Within two years, other big players such as France’s CMA CGM, China’s Cosco and German liner Hapag-Lloyd had struck similar deals.