THE planned merger of two transpacific quasi-conferences called "discussion agreements" has been stalled by questions from the US Federal Maritime Commission.
The 15 member shipping lines of the Transpacific Stabilisation Agreement (TSA), which deals with eastbound headhaul seeks to merge with the eight-member backhaul Westbound Transpacific Stabilisation Agreement (WTSA).
TSA and WTSA, which enjoy anti-trust immunity in the United States but not in Europe, began a two-year de facto merger trial in 2013. In October, the group sought to bring the trial to an end and make the merger permanent.
Speaking to Lloyd's List about the planned merger, the administrator of both, Brian Conrad, said it no longer made sense to have two groups after APL and NYK quit the WTSA, leaving only eight members.
He said the ability to consider round-trip should be a positive for the trade. But FMC Commissioner William Doyle now says he has questions he wants answered before he can agree to the plan.
Lloyd's List has since learned that FMC chairman Mario Cordero and Commissioner Richard Lidinsky voted with Mr Doyle on delaying the TSA amendment by 45 days in order to allow more time to study the ramifications.
Source : HKSG.