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May 04, 2017

U.S. maritime commission rejects Japanese carriers alliance/merger

The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) announced this week that it rejected, on jurisdictional grounds, the "Tripartite Agreement", an agreement between three carriers to form a joint container shipping service.

The Tripartite Agreement was filed at the Commission on March 24, 2017 by Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd (K Line), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), and Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK). These parties were seeking authority to share information with each other in advance of a new business entity being formed under the agreement next year. Absent this week's vote by the Commission, or a Request for Additional Information, the agreement would have gone into effect on May 8.

The Commission says the U.S. Shipping Act does not provide it the with authority to review and approve mergers.

After careful consideration, the Commission determined that parties to the Tripartite Agreement were ultimately establishing a merged, new business entity and that action is among the type of agreements excluded from FMC review.