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Signals™ Headlines - May 5, 2014

FMC Approves G6 Alliance Agreement Expansion

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has approved an amendment to the G6 Alliance Agreement, FMC Agreement No. 012194-002, to expand its scope to allow G6 operational cooperation in the trades between the Far East and the U.S. West Coast, and between North Europe and all U.S. coasts. This agreement authorizes American President Lines, Hapag Lloyd AG/USA, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Mitsui OSK Lines, Nippon Yusen Kaisha, and Orient Overseas Container Line to share vessels, and coordinate transportation services and operations. The FMC’s unanimous decision allowed the expanded Agreement to take effect April 4, 2014.

FMC Chairman Mario Cordero announced this decision and said “the Commission’s action on the G6 Alliance is based on an extensive, competitive analysis conducted by the Commission’s staff and comments received by shippers and other industry participants. The Commission will continue to review the competitive impact of global alliances. This Alliance will considerably increase available capacity in the expanded geographic scope, and has the potential to generate operational efficiencies and positive environmental benefits.”

Under their amended agreement, the G6 Alliance is authorized to operate 180 to 220 ships with maximum vessel capacities of 14,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). It may also operate one or more G6 Service Centers (GSC) to maximize the efficiency of the services operated under the agreement. These service centers may perform day-to-day management, administrative, and or service coordination functions such as vessel scheduling, allocating space among the agreement carriers, forecasting, communicating with providers or suppliers of vessel-related goods and services, monitoring bunker consumption of the vessels operated under the agreement, terminal operations, equipment and intermodal activities, cargo acceptance policy, hazardous cargo procedures, and vessel stowage planning.

FMC Commissioner William Doyle noted the G6 Alliance Agreement members recommitted in their amended agreement to abide by all applicable laws and regulations, and will maintain their separate and individual identities pertaining to sales, pricing, and marketing functions. Commissioner Doyle also noted his appreciation for APL’s and Hapag Lloyd’s commitment and support to the United States with respect to jobs and the commercial ships they have registered under the U.S. flag. FMC Commissioner Richard Lidinsky said he supported approval of the G6 Alliance Agreement amendment “because this group of carriers and their structure is a true ‘alliance.’ From the organizational chart, multi diverse membership, rotating Chairmen, VSA terms, and flexible operational procedures, it is well equipped to serve the international waterborne commerce of the United States in a fair and efficient manner.”

According to information compiled from PIERS, the data division of JOC Group Inc, the G6 Alliance Agreement members carried 27.1% of U.S. containerized export trade and 28.7% of U.S. containerized import trade in 2013; these are totals for all U.S. trade lanes. According to published reports, under its expanded agreement, each G6 Alliance carrier will be able to nearly double the number of sailings currently operated between ports in Asia and the USA. Several of the G6 Alliance Agreement members have announced updates to their Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific services to be implemented in May 2014.

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Transpacific Eastbound Carriers Postpone GRI, File PSS Effective June 15

Several carrier members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA), FMC Agreement No. 011223, serving the East Asia/USA trade lanes, have postponed the effective date of General Rate Increases (GRIs) from May 1, 2014 to May 15, 2014, and have filed Peak Season Surcharges (PSS) effective June 15, 2014.

Effective May 15, 2014, the GRI amount is USD 300 per 40ft on rates applicable to US West Coast Ports, and USD 400 per 40ft on rates applicable to all other USA destinations, with GRI amounts for other container sizes as per the usual formula. Effective June 15, 2014, the Peak Season Surcharge (PSS) amount is USD 400 per 40ft, with PSS amounts for other container sizes as per the usual formula.

The TSA’s fifteen carrier members are: American President Lines, China Shipping Container Lines, CMA CGM, COSCO Container Lines, Evergreen Marine, Hanjin Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd AG, Hyundai Merchant Marine, “K” Line, Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping, NYK Line, OOCL, Yang Ming Marine, and Zim Integrated Shipping Services. The group’s web site at www.tsacarriers.org provides additional info; however, each carrier maintains its own tariffs. The TSA Carrier group only issues recommended guidelines to its member carriers. Website addresses for all carriers are listed on www.fmc.gov

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TSA Westbound Carriers File GRIs for Reefer Cargoes Effective July 1, 2014

Some members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement Westbound (TSA), FMC Agreement No. 011223, whose member carriers serve the USA/East Asia trade lanes have filed General Rate Increases (GRIs) in their FMC tariffs for effective July 1, 2014. The GRI amount is USD 560 per 20ft and USD 700 per 40ft for refrigerated cargo, including beef, pork, poultry, and meat.

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Hamburg Sud and CMA CGM Increase Rates to Australia and New Zealand

Hamburg Sud and CMA CGM have filed General Rate Increases (GRIs) in their FMC tariffs for effective July 1, 2014 for cargo moving from the USA to Australia and New Zealand for USD 250 per 20ft and USD 500 per 40ft for all container types and heights. Both Carriers are members of the U.S./Australasia Discussion Agreement, FMC Agreement No. 011117, a discussion agreement of six ocean carriers that serve the trade from the USA to Australia and New Zealand. The agreement members are Hamburg Sud, CMA-CGM, Compagnie Maritime Marfret S.A. (Marfret), Pacific International Lines (PTE) Ltd., Hapag-Lloyd AG, and ANL Singapore Pte Ltd.

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FMC Chairman’s Earth Day Award Recognizes Efforts of Royal Caribbean CEO

FMC Chairman Mario Cordero announced that the Chairman’s Earth Day Award would recognize the environmental efforts of Richard D. Fain. Mr. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., has sought to increase environmental stewardship through innovations in vessel technology, onboard practices and an ongoing partnership with the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS). The FMC Chairman’s Earth Day Award highlights technologies, programs, or practices of the maritime transportation industry that, through efficiency or innovation, benefit the environment.

Chairman Cordero highlighted Mr. Fain’s support of Royal Caribbean’s work with RSMAS scientists to advance bilge water treatment technologies and the cruise line’s recent progresses in reducing their greenhouse gas footprint, as well as a 19% reduction in fuel consumption from 2005 levels. Additionally, Chairman Cordero recognized the establishment of the Ocean Fund by Royal Caribbean, which since 1996, has given over USD 12 million to more than 70 organizations around the world for projects that relate to ocean science, marine species preservation, and innovative technologies.

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