The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) on Wednesday approved a proposed liner carrier consortium of five ocean carriers for their planned services to and from the United States.
The FMC’s decision, which was made in a closed session during the agency’s final meeting of 2016, allows THE Alliance to become effective Dec. 19.
THE Alliance, announced in May, is composed of Hapag-Lloyd of Germany; Taiwan’s Yang Ming; and “K” Line, MOL and NYK of Japan. Also included in initial plans for THE Alliance was Hanjin Shipping before the South Korean carrier filed for insolvency in August.
Just last month, the three Japanese members of THE Alliance said they would combine their liner carrier divisions under a single entity.
Through the new alliance, the carriers said last month they plan to call over 75 ports in the Far East, North Europe, the Mediterranean, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East.
“I am very cognizant of the concerns industry stakeholders had regarding provisions in this agreement, particularly those related to information sharing and joint procurement,” FMC Chairman Mario Cordero said in a statement. “This office will continue to carefully focus on the impacts of the carrier alliance restructuring that is taking place in the shipping industry. Considerable review and analysis goes into assessing a final agreement before it is allowed to go into force.”
THE Alliance formed in the aftermath of a musical chairs of realignment in carrier alliances and consolidation that has only continued in the second half of 2016. The grouping was nicknamed by some analysts as the “orphan alliance” since it was made up of carriers left on the sidelines by the formation of the Ocean Alliance, which brought together carriers from three previous alliances (the Ocean 3, G6, and CKYHE). Eric Johnson – American Shipper