In a note to clients, MSC explained the partnership with SM Line is not linked to 2M, reported Singapore's Splash 247.
'The new agreement with SM Line is separate from the 2M vessel sharing agreement between MSC and Maersk, and the services of 2M and SM Line will complement each other. It consists of a combination of slot exchanges and slot purchases among the three parties - MSC, Maersk and SM Line - and it is subject to regulatory approval,' MSC stated.
The SM tie-up specifically will give MSC and Maersk greater access to the Pacific northwest, while allowing SM more slots to California.
The agreement between 2M and ZIM in the Pacific northwest region remains in full effect.
SM Line was launched three years ago by Samra Midas Group, after snapping up many of the assets of collapsed Hanjin Shipping. Samra Midas, best known in Korea for its construction activities, also owns Korea Line Corporation.
SM Line has just put several of its 6,000-TEU ships up for sale, vessels that had been deployed on the carrier's Pacific southwest (PSW) service linking Asia with Los Angeles.
Commenting on the news, Andy Lane from Singapore's CTI Consultancy, said teaming up with Maersk and MSC was a logical move for SM Line.
'It was always going to be difficult for SM Line to operate solo on these trades in terms of unit costs, product diversity and utilisation of assets. It therefore makes perfect sense for them to share services with 2M, which will undoubtedly be win-win,' Mr Lane said.
SM Line is expected to continue to operate its 4,500-TEU ships on its Pacific northwest service calling Vancouver, Portland and Seattle, with 2M expected to take some space.