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P3 alliance worries shippers

[ October 11, 2013   //   ]

The Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) has officially raised its concerns over the P3 shipping alliance. GSF says that the proposed link-up between Maersk Line, CMA-CGM and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) could be an industry game changer and shippers are concerned about its market impact and the effect on rates and the quality of services.

GSF is submitting detailed questions to the European Commission Competition Directorate in Brussels.

The GSF has said that “it is aware that the P3 members consider that their Global Alliance falls outside the EU consortia block exemption (BER) and therefore requires a more in-depth assessment. Accordingly, the GSF needs to be in a position to submit its views on the competition law and market impact issues that may arise from the proposed alliance.”

In particular, the GSF has asked for confirmation from the European Commission competition authorities that it has commenced a formal investigation.

The purpose of the GSF submission to the EC Competition Directorate, is to request the essential features and details of the P3 Global Alliance in order that the GSF will be in a position to complete its own legal analysis of the proposed agreement.

GSF secretary general, Chris Welsh said: “Shippers are rightly worried about the potential of the P3 to eliminate effective competition in the world’s main liner trades. We therefore need an in-depth assessment of the P3. That’s why we are asking the European Commission to provide us with the essential details of the P3 and to confirm whether they have started a formal investigation or intend to do so. We need information and answers so that the GSF is in the position to protect the commercial interests of shippers internationally”

In view of the nature of the P3, it is fully expected and understandable that other regulatory and competition authorities will want to analyse the agreement; GSF has stated that if required, it will assist its members throughout these enquiries.

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