The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) concluded its review of the proposed “THE Alliance” carrier agreement (FMC Agreement No. 012439) and allowed it to become effective on December 19, 2016. THE Alliance is comprised of five leading container carriers: Hapag-Lloyd, K Line, MOL, NYK, and Yang Ming.

The Commission voted to allow this agreement to become effective following a period of substantive and constructive discussion with the parties. The scope of this agreement applies only to the USA trade lanes; cargo moved by carriers in THE Alliance that does not originate or terminate in the United States is not covered by this agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, THE Alliance members are permitted to share vessels, charter and exchange space on each other’s ships, and enter into cooperative working arrangements. The agreement carriers are authorized to deploy and coordinate up to 180 line haul vessels with maximum capacity of 21,000 TEUs, with a maximum weekly capacity of 180,000 TEUs.

In a published statement, FMC Chairman Mario Cordero said, “I am very cognizant of the concerns industry stakeholders had regarding provisions in this agreement, particularly those related to information sharing and joint procurement.” The agreement reflects this concern in that it prohibits THE Alliance from discussing or jointly contracting for the purchase, lease, or operation of equipment, facilities (inland terminals, equipment depots, warehouses, container yards, container freight stations), and any services provided by such facilities, in the United States.