IT appears the three member lines of P3 Alliance promised US regulators they would negotiate separately when entering into contracts with terminal operators.
A spokesman for Maersk, which together with MSC and CMA CGM make up the alliance, confirmed they would not jointly negotiate terminal rates, while at the same time saying there would be a "lead shipping line".
"To effectively co-ordinate and secure berthing windows for P3 services the partners will determine a lead line for each terminal to speak on behalf of the P3 co-operation, but all rates will be negotiated by the lines individually," the spokesman said.
In the initial agreement filed with the US Federal Maritime Commission by the world's top three ocean liners they said each of them, or any two of them, may negotiate jointly and contract jointly or individually with the marine terminals, reported Lloyd's List.
The terms also applied to operators, stevedores, tug operators, other providers or suppliers of other vessel-related goods and services and/or inland carriers.
Negotiations and contracts with air, rail or road carriers for services in the US will be subject to US antitrust laws, they said.
In addition, the new agreement also stated that the shipping lines are authorised to discuss, exchange information, and/or co-ordinate negotiations with marine terminal operators relating to operational matters such as port schedules, availability of port facilities, equipment and services.
There is uncertainty whether this new arrangement would also apply to the P3's network in Europe and Asia.
Source : HKSG.