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New ocean cargo agreement gets closer to reality

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
October 30, 2013

The much anticipated P3 Network vessel-sharing agreement has been submitted to the Federal Maritime Commission. If approved, it will give Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM the ability to discuss and agree on the size, number and operational characteristics of vessels to be operated on transatlantic and transpacific trade lanes.

The P3 network agreement also includes the Asia-Europe trade – which is not subject to the Shipping Act or FMC jurisdiction.

According to Drewry Maritime Research, competitors of the P3 alliance will introduce only moderate capacity growth in its forthcoming schedules between Asia/Europe and Asia/North America, but its new services are a stark reminder of the “awesome” size of Maersk/MSC/CMA CGM’s combined resources.

Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM have opted for only moderate vessel capacity growth in their new schedules that take effect during 2Q 14, inferring that service quality rather than quantity will be the P3 alliance’s main fighting tool. In the case of Asia/Northern Europe, just a 2.25% increase is planned compared to the capacity offered at the beginning of September.

There will also be one less weekly service, although this will be more than compensated by a 14% increase in average vessel capacity, up to 13,032 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), including the deployment of more 18,000 TEU vessels from Maersk.

Neil Dekker, Drewry’s head of container research, notes that there will also be one less weekly service between Asia and the Mediterranean, adding that it is not yet possible to assess the impact of this on capacity as vessel deployment within the new services remains to be clarified.

“However, here again, the reduction will probably be more than compensated by the cascading of 10 larger ‘ultra large container vessels’ no longer required between Asia and Northern Europe,” says Dekker. “It has only been confirmed so far that the P3’s new services will deploy vessels between 8,500 TEU and 16,000 TEU, but as the 64 vessels currently deployed there already average 10,467 TEU, that does not mean much.”

About the Author

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Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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