The Federal Maritime Commission is upping its scrutiny of the three alliances that dominate global container shipping
The alliances (2M, OCEAN, and THE) and each of their member companies will now be required to provide enhanced pricing and capacity information, providing the FMC with uniform data to use in assessing ocean carrier behavior and marketplace competitiveness.
The newly mandated information will provide the FMC’s Bureau of Trade Analysis (BTA) with insight into pricing of individual trade lanes and by container and service type. It will also provide more immediate information regarding capacity management decisions of ocean carriers and alliances.
The changes are the result of a year-long examination by BTA to determine the data needed to properly analyze carrier behavior and marketplace trends. Under the new requirements, carriers participating in an alliance will need to submit pricing information about cargo they move on the major trade lanes, and both carriers and alliances will be mandated to submit comprehensive information related to capacity management.
One of the key responsibilities of the FMC, through BTA, is to continuously monitor compliance with agreement authorities and to determine if agreements have an anticompetitive impact on the marketplace.
The three ocean carrier alliances are already subject to the most frequent and stringent monitoring requirements of any type of agreement on file at the FNC. Information already collected includes detailed operational data, minutes from meetings among agreement principals, and regularly scheduled meetings with agreement parties where Commission staff address issues of concern.
The FMC says it assesses its reporting requirements on a continuous basis and adjusts the information it requires ocean carriers and alliances to file as circumstances and business practices change. Additional changes to requirements will be issued as warranted.