P3 Partnership Approved by E.U. Regulators

Following the March vote of approval from the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), the European Commission announced this week that it hasn’t found any anti-competitive issues with the proposed P3 Network, giving the vessel-sharing agreement involving the three largest global container lines safe harbor on the continent.

The three lines, Maersk Line, CMA CGM and Mediterranean Shipping Co., are still awaiting approval from Chinese authorities later this month.

Since the ships operated by the P3 will be larger on average than ones operated by the other major alliances, putting the carriers at a cost advantage over most of the industry. The P3 carriers emphasize the alliance is operational only, so there will be no joint marketing, sales or discussion of rates.

The proposed alliance will control 42 percent of Asia-Europe capacity, 24 percent of trans-Pacific capacity and 40 to 42 percent on the trans-Atlantic, according to the FMC. P3 would initially involve 252 vessels totaling 2.6 million TEUs on east-west routes.