Commissioner William P. Doyle of the US Federal Maritime Commission has voted to allow the strategic cooperation agreement between Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) to go forward as the 2M Alliance.
Alliances have come under scrutiny by Doyle, who recently called on carrier lines to “work in the direction of providing safeguards” to ensure cargo is delivered in the case of another bankruptcy like Hanjin Shipping.
Maersk stated that 2M cargo will however only be loaded onto HMM vessels with customers’ express agreement – and only on the HMM operated service that is part of the Asia to US West Coast slot swap agreement.
Commissioner Doyle said: “Too often small to medium sized shippers lack the bargaining power to choose which actual carrier will transport their goods.
“Maersk’s statement was widely interpreted as a response to shippers’ concern in the wake of the Hanjin insolvency – meaning that having shippers take affirmative action on which carrier is ultimately used was viewed as a safeguard for those wary of having containers on a HMM vessel.
“I expect MSC to afford some measure of protection for its shippers as well.
“Though the agreement will go into effect soon, the FMC will continue to have authority to monitor this and other agreements for compliance with the law.”
Members of THE Alliance recently announced a new and unique contingency plan in the “unlikely event” that a carrier line suffers bankruptcy.