Commission Orders Information from Carriers in U.S. – Australia/New Zealand Trade
December 15, 2009
The Federal Maritime Commission announced today the issuance of an order under Section 15 of the Shipping Act of 1984 requiring carriers providing direct services in the U.S.-Australia/New Zealand trade to submit information regarding current trade and competitive conditions. Named as Respondents, individually and as agreement members, are Hamburg-Sud; Hapag-Lloyd; Maersk Line; CMA-CGM; ANL Singapore; and Marfret.
Respondents are the sole providers of direct container service in these trades, and currently operate pursuant to a number of FMC-filed agreements, namely FMC Agreement No. 011741 (U.S. Pacific Coast-Oceania Agreement); FMC Agreement No. 012034 (Hamburg-Sud/Maersk Line Vessel Sharing Agreement); FMC Agreement No. 011931 (CMA CGM/Marfret Vessel Sharing Agreement); FMC Agreement No. 011117 (U.S./Australasia Discussion Agreement); and FMC Agreement No. 011275 (Australia and New Zealand-U.S. Discussion Agreement).
The high market share of these agreements coupled with the members' ability to discuss and voluntarily agree on both rates and capacity have given rise to significant concerns about potential adverse effects on U.S. exporters and importers that rely on these services. The Shipping Act of 1984 requires the Commission to monitor the U.S. oceanborne trades for such effects and, if necessary, to take action against any collective activity likely to unreasonably affect rates or services in U.S. foreign commerce.
Today's action supplements the Commission's Order issued in August 2008, and reflects continuing concerns about the structure of competition in these markets. In addition, the new Section 15 Order will require that certain trade and capacity data be reported by the carriers on an ongoing basis. FMC Chairman Richard A. Lidinsky Jr. commented, "The Order demonstrates our particular concerns about competition in these important U.S. trades. Especially in the U.S. southbound trades, U.S. manufacturers and exporters stand to be directly impacted by the competitive activities of those carriers servicing this trade. I encourage interested members of the public to contact the Commission with any questions or concerns they may have, or to provide information that may assist the Commission in better assessing the current trade conditions faced by U.S. exporters." Interested parties may contact the Commission's Office of General Counsel at (202) 523-5740 or GeneralCounsel@fmc.gov; or the Bureau of Trade Analysis at (202) 523-5796 or TradeAnalysis@fmc.gov.