European Commission approves P3 alliance

The European Commission has informed the three container lines of the P3 Network that it will not open anti-trust proceedings, allowing the shipping alliance to remain in compliant with EU competition law.

CMA CGM, Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) announced in June 2013 their intention to establish a long term operational vessel sharing agreement called the P3 Network.

The proposed alliance is subject to regulatory review in jurisdictions in North American, Europe and Asia.

“Today [Tuesday], the European Commission informed the P3 partners that the commission will not open proceedings in connection with P3,” CMA CGM said in a statement.

“The partners will now continue their close cooperation with competition and maritime authorities in amongst others China and South Korea to address questions and to explain the nature of P3,” it said.

On 24 March 2014, the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) decided to allow the P3 Network agreement to become effective in the US.

The three container lines have reiterated that the P3 Network is meant to be an operational, not a commercial, cooperation. The vessels will be operated independently by an independent vessel operating centre. The three partners will also remain competitors with fully independent sales, marketing and customer service functions and pricing policies.

“The overall aim with P3 is to make container liner shipping more efficient and improve service quality for the shippers – our customers – due to more frequent and reliable services,” CMA CGM said.

Subject to all the relevant regulatory clearances, P3 is scheduled to start operations in the last quarter of this year.

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