Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have signed a 10 year Vessel Sharing Agreement (VSA) on the Asia-Europe, Transatlantic and Transpacific trades.The VSA will be referred to as 2M, and it replaces all existing VSAs and slot purchase agreements that Maersk Line has in these trades.The VSA will include 185 vessels with an estimated capacity of 2.1 million TEU, deployed on 21 strings.“We will continue to provide our customers with competitive and reliable container shipping in the East-West trades at attractive prices.To do so we have to be innovative and take out cost, while keeping a product that is best in class for our customers in terms of coverage, frequency and reliability.Our agreement with MSC is a step towards achieving all of these objectives in the East-West trades,” said Søren Skou, Maersk Line CEO.The 2M VSA differs from the earlier proposed P3 alliance in two important aspects: the combined market share is much smaller, and this cooperation is a pure VSA. There will be no jointly owned independent entity with executional powers.The 21 strings covered by the 2M are split as follows: Asia/North Europe: 6, Asia/Mediterranean: 4, Asia/US West Coast: 4, Asia/US East Coast: 2, North Europe/USA: 3, Mediterranean/USA: 2.Maersk Line will contribute with approximately 110 vessels with a nominal capacity of app. 1.2 million TEU (55% of the total capacity).MSC will contribute with approximately 75 vessels with a nominal capacity of app. 0.9 million TEU (45% of the total capacity).The VSA is expected to start early 2015. The starting date is conditioned by filing of information to and in some cases approvals by relevant authorities.