The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission has given its approval to '2M' - meaning MSC's vessel sharing agreement with Maersk Line can proceed as planned.
On 10 July 2014, MSC announced proposals for the 10-year VSA with Maersk Line on the Asia-Europe, Transatlantic and Transpacific trades. These proposals remained subject to the consent of relevant international authorities.
There remain a number of procedures still in process in other countries, with whose authorities MSC will continue to work towards completion of regulatory requirements. However, the U.S. was the only remaining jurisdiction in which the VSA had yet to obtain approval that had the potential to suspend or delay the 2M implementation. Thanks to the FMC's approval, there is now a clear path toward full implementation of the vessel sharing agreement.
The FMC stated that the 2M 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."
FMC Chairman Mario Cordero said: "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."
"MSC is very pleased to have reached this milestone in good time for the commencement of our new 2M services”, stated Diego Aponte, President and CEO of MSC. “MSC is grateful to the FMC for the thorough, efficient and professional manner in which the notification was reviewed. We are very excited that our customers will benefit from the outstanding service enhancements that 2M will deliver as early as the beginning of next year.”