The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has invited the regulatory bodies in the European Union and China to discuss the possible impact of the proposed P3 global alliance of the world’s three largest container carriers, Maersk Line, CMA-CGM, and Mediterranean Shipping Co.
The global regulatory summit is to take place in Washington, DC, said a statement released recently by FMC, the federal agency regulating the U.S.’s international ocean transportation.
FMC chairman Mario Cordero said: “Together with our European and Chinese counterparts, we as regulatory authorities have responsibilities related not only to our nations, but to the global shipping structure to ensure that this proposed Alliance does not harm others, including consumers, the maritime community, and world trade.”
He added: “Once this agreement is filed, I envision all members of our American maritime industry—shippers, importers, exporters, consumers, ports, unions, intermodal entities—to fully express their views to the Commission in written comments or open hearings as to how this Alliance of foreign flag carriers would affect our waterborne commerce.”
The three carriers announced that they will begin cooperating in the second quarter of 2014 on the three major trade lanes—Asia-Europe lane as well as the trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic routes to the United States.
Early estimates by Maersk Line put market control of such an alliance at about 42 percent on the Asia-Europe route, 24 percent on the trans-Pacific routes, and 40 percent to 42 percent on the trans-Atlantic route.
Indications are that the P3 network will be operated from new management offices in London and Singapore with a staff of about 200, noted the FMC. The proposed alliance has already named Maersk Line’s Lars Mikel Jensen as its CEO.
Commissioner William P. Doyle joined in the call for the summit. “One of my concerns relates to media reports that a combined east-west fleet of 346 vessels will be reduced to 255 vessels once the proposed Alliance is consummated,” stated Commissioner Doyle. “I am interested in learning more about the impact this Alliance will have on services provided to consumers, shippers and U.S. terminal operations.’’
Commissioner Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr. also stated, “It is clear this Alliance is moving forward as if it has already met regulatory approval despite the lack of any significant filing with regulatory authorities in Europe, China or the U.S. Pushing behind the scenes and placing positive stories with the press is not a substitute for proper consideration of the consequences of this massive carrier alignment.”