U.S. Federal Maritime Commission’s Statement on ‘2M Alliance’ Approval

Photo courtesy MSC
Photo courtesy MSC

The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) on Thursday said it has concluded its review of the so-called “2M Alliance”, a proposed vessel sharing agreement between A.P. M0ller-Maersk A/S and Mediterranean Shipping Company SA, approving the operation and paving the way for its start next year.

The shipping alliance, which was submitted to the FMC under the name Maersk/MSC Vessel Sharing Agreement, will initially involve 97 vessels ranging in capacity from 4,000 TEUs up to approximately 13,000 TEUs and cover trade routes across northern Europe, the Mediterranean, Asia and North America, including U.S. ports along the east, gulf and west coasts. The authorization also allows the vessel pool to grow up to 130 ships with a capacity up to 19,200 TEUs each.

RELATED: ‘2M Alliance’ Clears Final Regulatory Hurdle

The FMC’s approval represented the last regulatory hurdle needed in order to begin operations as planned in January 2015.

Below is the full statement from the FMC on the approval of the Agreement:

The Commission’s decision, from which Commissioner Lidinsky dissents, will allow the Agreement to become effective, as scheduled on Saturday, October 11, 2014. The Commission’s decision is based on a determination that the agreement is not likely at this time, by a reduction in competition, to produce an unreasonable increase in transportation cost or an unreasonable reduction in transportation service under section 6(g) of the Shipping Act. The Commission’s action also imposes reporting requirements on the Agreement parties to assist the Commission in its ongoing, close monitoring of the agreement.

“The Commission’s action on the 2M Agreement is based on the comprehensive, competitive analysis conducted by the FMC staff, and takes into account responses from the Agreement parties to staff and Commissioner questions raised during the 45-day review period, as well as comments received from the European Shippers Council, the only public comment received on the proposed Agreement. I am confident that the reporting requirements will ensure that the Commission will have timely and relevant information to monitor activity under the agreement, and will enable the FMC to act quickly should it be necessary,” said Chairman Cordero.

The Federal Maritime Commission is the federal agency responsible for regulating the nation’s international ocean transportation for the benefit of exporters, importers, and the American consumer. The FMC’s mission is to foster a fair, efficient, and reliable international ocean transportation system while protecting the public from unfair and deceptive practices.

Full Agreement (opens as pdf): Maersk/MSC Vessel Sharing Agreement (FMC Agreement No. 012293)