The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has issued letters to the three major global carrier alliances demanding carrier-specific trade data be filed on a monthly basis as part of efforts to ensure fair competition and increase transparency.
Data is already filed to the FMC on a quarterly basis and the FMC has traditionally relied on a combination of individual vessel operator confidentially provided data and information from commercially available industry data to monitor and analyse container carrier freight rates and service market trends.
However, it has determined that due to recent market fluctuations, it requires said data on a more frequent basis to better position its staff economists to evaluate changes in the transpacific and transatlantic trade routes.
A core function of the FMC is the monitoring of ocean carrier alliance agreements filed with the agency. The FMC receives and evaluates exhaustive, commercially sensitive information from regulated entities, in this case, parties to an ocean carrier alliance agreement.
That information is carefully analyzed, along with other information that permits FMC staff to determine trends in the marketplace and the potential for illegal behavior.
FMC Chairman Michael Khouri stated, “If we detect any indication of carrier behavior that may violate the Shipping Act’s section 6(g) competition standard, we will immediately seek to address these concerns with direct carrier discussions. If necessary, the FMC will go to federal court to seek an injunction to enjoin further operation of the alliance agreement.”
The three major alliances – THE Alliance, 2M Alliance and OCEAN, account for approximately 80% of the world’s container shipping and include the world’s biggest carrier.