WASHINGTON — U.S. Federal Maritime Commissioners yesterday unanimously voted to allow CKYH partners and Evergreen Line to discuss cooperating in the trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic trades.
The discussion agreement allows the carriers to look at launching vessel-sharing agreements on the two major trade lanes while gauging the market and how other carrier alliances take shape. Cosco, “K” Line, Yang Ming, Hanjin Shipping and Evergreen have had an alliance on the Asia-North Europe and Asia-Mediterranean routes since March. Most of the lines already have cross-slot arrangements with each other on major U.S. routes, but a formalized alliance would give them more structured slot-sharing.
The CKYH partners and Evergreen Line asked permission from the FMC to enter the discussion agreement before Chinese regulators on June 17 blocked the P3 Network, an ambitious VSA involving the three largest global container lines that the FMC had approved. The proposed alliance among Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM spurred the G6 Alliance to expand into the Asia-U.S. West Coast and trans-Atlantic routes. The FMC in early April unanimously voted to allow the carriers — APL, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, MOL, NYK and OOCL — to enter into vessel-sharing agreements on the two trade lanes.
FMC Commissioner Richard Lidinsky, who cast the lone vote against the P3, last month called the G6 a “model alliance,” in that members have similarly sized vessels and will benefit U.S. East Coast ports by expanding their geographic reach. The G6 alliance is a far cry from the proposed P3, a pact focused just on filling carriers’ big ships, he said.