Reading more about this partnership, it seems that CMA addressed one of it's biggest problems, which was inability to order larger ships due to balance sheet constraints. MSC has a bunch of post-panamax vessels and CMA is gaining access to these. Win-win...MSC gets better odds on full utilization/lower costs and CMA gets access to more economies of scale.
It seems that CMA CGM is positioned well (enough) under the circumstances. If they have 200+ ships up for charter renewal, then they can really take advantage of the terrible marketplace and pass their pain on to the OTHER ship owners.
Hopefully, this will prompt additional scrapping and fallout of smaller players such that the market can rebound second half of 2012 in time for the Ville renewals.
Competitor collaboration is nothing new. Its like two cab companies in San Francisco calling each other and agreeing internally to charge the same rate so they dont have to compete on price. It works until it doesn't, usually when #4 company figures out a way to beat their rates, LOL. Coursonc