US watchdog the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) on Friday gave its approval to the proposed OCEAN Alliance of four major international shipping companies.
The OK means that the new entity can come into effect as soon as Monday. And alliance members CMA CGM, Cosco Group, Orient Overseas Container Line and Evergreen Line can start sailing US trade routes in April 2017.
One of the conditions that will be most closely watched is one forbidding alliance members from negotiating collective deals with terminal operators – each member must continue to make its own deals.
Alliance members will be allowed to share ships and to charter and exchange space on each other’s vessels.
The new alliance will be competing on US routes against the 2M alliance and another multinational group awaiting approval and called THE Alliance.
OCEAN Alliance still awaits approval from regulators in Europe and China.