The Federal Maritime Commission voted Thursday to approve a request for additional information from the parties to the proposed P3 Network Vessel Sharing Agreement — Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM.
The request for additional information delays the effectiveness of the proposed agreement, which was poised to go into effect this Sunday, even though the three carriers are not planning to launch their global P3 Network until the second quarter of next year.
The FMC said that after the parties have submitted the requested information and documents, a new 45-day regulatory review period will begin.
The FMC said it will note its decision to request additional information in the Federal Register next week and will announce a 15-day public comment period for interested parties to further comment on the proposed agreement.
But the content of the FMC's request itself is not available to the public.
The proposed agreement, FMC Agreement No. 012230
. would authorize the parties to share vessels
and engage in related cooperative operating activities in the trades
between the U.S. and Asia, North Europe, and the Mediterranean.
The action was welcomed by the Global Shippers Forum, whose members include the National Industrial Transportation League, the largest shipper group in the U.S.
"When shippers still lack basic information from the P3 about sailing schedules and how services will affect production and distribution, it is absolutely necessary for extra evaluation time for the carriers to respond to questions submitted by GSF regarding the competitive impact of the P3,” said Chris Welsh, the GSF's secretary-general.
“It is clear that the P3 goes beyond a normal vessel-sharing agreement in terms of its scale and scope, and operational arrangements," Welsh said. "The 'game changing' nature of the P3 is underlined by the response by the G6 alliance and others. We are potentially looking at a fundamental change in the structure of the global liner market and the wider competitive environment for shippers.”