Three of the world’s largest steamship companies serving Asia, Europe and the United States have submitted an important vessel sharing agreement to the Federal Maritime Commission for approval. The net effect of this filing, if gone unchallenged, would be to provide these three carriers with anti-trust immunity for implementing certain practices normally in violation of anti-trust statutes. The Federal Maritime Commission said it would accept public comment on the “P3 Network Vessel Sharing Agreement” of Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping and CMA CGM until midnight Friday, Nov. 29. Current law provides that if the commission takes no action to seek an injunction or require additional information, the agreement will become effective 45 days after the original filing date of Oct. 24, i.e., on Dec. 8.
The Wall Street Journal on Nov. 20 stated that the P3 Alliance (as it is called) has joint control of 43 percent of the Asia-Europe container shipping, 41 percent of the trans-Atlantic trade and about 24 percent of the trans-Pacific market. The main concern by shippers is that the P3 Alliance would exert undue control on the supply side – vessel space – and, therefore, unfavorably impact pricing to unreasonably high levels. This agreement is coming at a time when ocean freight pricing has been on the decline.
For additional information, please contact Carlos Rodriguez or Joe Orlet.