Monday, September 15, 2014

Insiders say Maersk and MSC met with FMC on 2M vessel-sharing deal

Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co. planned to hold talks with U.S. Federal Maritime Commission officials on Friday to discuss concerns that their proposed 2M alliance will be delayed, people involved in the matter said.

The 2M alliance would move about one-third of all cargo on the globe’s busiest trade routes. Denmark’s Maersk Line and Geneva-based MSC filed their request for clearance with the commission in late August.

"There are some worries that the scheduled launch early next year may be delayed as some at the Federal Maritime Commission [in the U.S.] are not that keen on such mega-alliances," one of the sources said. "So the two partners want to address those concerns early on."

William Doyle, one of the FMC’s five commissioners, said in an interview last week that he wants to consult with Chinese regulators before reaching a decision on the 2M alliance.

Maersk and MSC, the world's biggest global container lines by capacity, are sending executives to D.C. to discuss the matter with the U.S. watchdog, according to another source.

"I can't see how the FMC can turn down the 2M as it is smaller than the P3," said Lars Jensen, chief executive of Copenhagen-based SeaIntel Maritime Analysis. "But the Chinese rejection has given a bigger voice to those at the FMC who have second thoughts about these tie-ups and the 2M wants to clear the air."

The 2M alliance is expected to save the two companies hundreds of millions of dollars annually in operational costs.

For more of the Wall Street Journal story:

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