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US maritime commissioner confirms Cosco and CSCL merger

Commissioner William P Doyle of the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has confirmed that China Ocean Shipping Company (Cosco) and China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) are planning to merge, and has helped advise the synergy.

Doyle and Michael Rodriguez, deputy maritime administrator of the US Maritime Administration, were in China this week for bilateral consultations with a Chinese delegation led by Wang Mingzhi, deputy director of China’s Ministry of Transport. The Commissioner described the meetings, which were held this week in Suzhou, as “successful”.

“We discussed many matters including the recent chemical explosion in the port of Tianjin, overcapacity in the liner trade, tariffs, the potential Cosco-CSCL merger, and China’s pilot program regarding four free trade zones,” he said today in a statement.

Doyle also met in Shanghai with senior executives from both Cosco and CSCL, including China Shipping Group’s general counsel Ye Hongjun and Cosco Container Lines’ managing director Wang Haimin.

The parties reportedly discussed to what extent the shipping alliances in which Cosco and CSCL are currently members may change before and after the merger, but no specifics about the conversation were disclosed.

“The FMC’s doors are always open,” the Commissioner said. “Cosco and CSCL are ready to discuss their future plans with the FMC and they will be reaching out in person to the Commission in the near future.  I welcome their engagement with the Commission and staff.”

Doyle said he also notified the two companies the US FMC has begun a rulemaking process on relaxing the service contract filing requirements with the Commission.

The FMC voted this week to allow Cosco Europe’s petition for exemption from the government-controlled carrier 30-day filing requirements on lowering tariff rates within the US.

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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