The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has approved the proposed vessel sharing agreement (VSA) between A P Moller-Maersk and MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company.
The approval allows the companies to share vessels and engage in related cooperative operating activities in the trades between the US, Asia, North Europe and the Mediterranean. This ten-year VSA on the Asia-Europe, Transatlantic and Transpacific trades was announced in July of this year.
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."
FMC has authorised the companies to operate up to 130 vessels in the trade with a capacity of up to 19,200TEU and initially they will operate around 97 vessels with 4,000TEU to 13,000TEU capacity in the trade. The VSA will have an estimated capacity of 2.1 million TEU, or around 185 vessels in total of which 55% will be contributed by Maersk Line.
Maersk Line chief trade and marketing officer Vincent Clerc said: "Due to a larger and more cost-efficient network, we can continue to provide our customers in North America, Europe and Asia competitive and reliable container shipping services.
"We look forward to starting operations on our new east / west network in January 2015."
With the deployment of larger and efficient vessels, the VSA will bring cost savings and also offers reduced CO2 emissions.