'Never say never'

Maersk Line is hopeful its 2M project will not face the same regulatory fate as its scrapped P3 alliance.

Nils Andersen, chief executive of Maersk Line parent AP Moller-Maersk, was however offering no guarantees that China would not seek to block the move in some way.

Andersen sought to clarify the situation today, explaining that the new pact with Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) only requires the approval of US regulators.

In both China and Europe the 2M will be surveyed but it is not subject to approval in the same way that the P3 was, he said during a second quarter conference call.

Pressed by analysts on if China may try to block the move having earlier shot down the P3 dream, Andersen said: “Our interpretation is no.”

He added: “To say never, under no circumstances, is a guarantee that nobody can give." 

In the second quarter AP Moller logged a profit of $2.25bn, beating the $2.21bn consensus of Thomson Reuters.

It now expects a profit of $4.5bn this year, up from the $4bn previously projected.