The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission said its members voted not to block the P3 Network that Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Co., and CMA CGM plan to start later this year.
The three largest container carriers will operate the vessel-sharing agreement in the transpacific, transatlantic and Asia-Europe trades.
The FMC said it conducted an extensive review of the proposed P3
trades between the United States and Asia, North Europe, and the Mediterranean.
Commissioner Richard Lidinsky Jr. cast the only dissenting vote among the five-member commission.
The agency said its decision was based on a determination that the P3 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 noted “there may be circumstances that could permit the P3 Agreement parties at some point in the future, to unreasonably reduce services or unreasonably raise rates that could raise concerns under section 6(g). To address these concerns, the commission directed staff to issue alternative reporting requirements to the P3 Agreement parties to assist the commission in its ongoing, close monitoring of the agreement."
"The commission’s action on the P3 Agreement takes into account the comprehensive, competitive analysis conducted by the FMC staff and comments received from shippers and other stakeholders. While the agreement is expected to produce operational efficiencies for the benefit of the U.S. consumer, the new reporting requirements specifically tailored to this agreement’s unique authority will ensure we have timely and relevant information to act quickly should it be necessary," said FMC Chairman Mario Cordero in a statement.
In a separate press release, Commissioner William Doyle said after reviewing comments submitted by the public
about the P3 and submitting his own questions to the P3 parties he decided not to delay the agreement from going forward.
“I am particularly pleased that the P3 Parties have reconsidered how they would handle negotiations with third parties, suppliers, small businesses, and other service providers. I also appreciate Maersk’s long-standing commitment and support to the United States with respect to jobs, management of U.S. government-owned ships and the commercial ships it has registered under the U.S.-flag. In addition, the P3 Network Alliance claims it will deliver significant environmental benefits through substantially lower fuel consumption thereby significantly reducing CO2
emissions,” Doyle said.
He added “I do want to offer a word of caution, the P3 parties should be mindful of the antitrust probes that are being conducted in the oceanborne transportation sector – worldwide. To this end, the Federal Maritime Commission is not taking its hands off the wheel and is hereby instituting a monitoring program for the P3 Network Alliance.”