The global container industry may have to get used to a closer, more direct cooperation between the competition authorities of the world's three superpowers through fixed "summits."
At any rate the Chairman of the US authority FMC, the Federal Maritime Commission, Mario Cordero, tells ShippingWatch in a comment that the meeting between the FMC and the competition authorities of China and the EU was such a success that the summit might become an annual fixture. The meeting, held in Washington, DC, on December 17th, marked a historical event as it was allegedly the first meeting between the three parties at such a high level.
The occasion for the summit was the planned P3 collaboration between Maersk Line, MSC, and CMA CGM, but the meeting dealt just as much with international container transport in general. Since the Federal Maritime Commission initiated the remarkable meeting in Washington the carriers in the so-called G6 alliance have announced plans of an expanded and more comprehensive cooperation to and from - especially - the United States.
New talks underway
"It was a valuable meeting where we had a good dialog about cross board container transport in the world today. This led to a very good understanding of how the systems work in the various parts of the world, and it could be the beginning of an annual dialog, though we're not committing to anything yet at this point," Mario Cordero tells ShippingWatch.
The FMC Chairman invited his colleagues to the meeting back in October to discuss the giant alliance, as he and other FMC members were starting to worry about the prospects of the extensive collaboration between the three largest container carriers. Just prior to the meeting the FMC closed a period of receiving comments from competitors and other players, who voiced either their approval or disapproval of the collaboration. The shipping companies are now holding the ball, as they have to answer and comment on the submitted questions.
The process is becoming increasingly protracted. Most recently Chief Trade & Marketing Officer at Maersk Line, Vincent Clerc, stated that the launch of P3, which will be headquartered in London, will likely take place late in the 2nd quarter 2014. Till now the carriers have worked with a planned launch in the 2nd quarter 2014.