Carriers to undergo monitoring by FMC as profits keep surging

Felixstowe, Suffolk, England - April 20, 2019: Large Container Ship being loaded at Felixstowe Port.

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has required three global ocean carrier alliances – 2M, OCEAN, and THE – and each of their member companies to provide pricing and capacity information, to assess carrier behaviour and marketplace competitiveness.

As global shipping lines made an astounding operating profit of over $110 billion in 2021, the changes introduced by FMC are the result of a year-long examination by the Commission’s Bureau of Trade Analysis (BTA) to determine the data needed to properly analyse carrier behaviour and marketplace trends – hence regulating the market further.

Under the new requirements, carriers and alliances will need to submit pricing information about cargo traffic on the major trade lanes and will be instructed to submit information related to capacity management.

One key objective is to determine whether existing agreements result in an anticompetitive impact on the marketplace.

The three ocean carrier alliances are already subject to the most frequent and stringent monitoring requirements – including detailed operational data, minutes from meetings among agreement principals, and regularly scheduled meetings with agreement parties where FMC addresses concerns.

Resulting from record demand and supply chain capacity challenges, container lines saw record earnings in 2021 – Maersk and CMA CGM being amongst the top performers.

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