Monday, November 9, 2009

Maersk Seeks to Rejoin Trans-Pac Pact

Ocean carrier Maersk plans to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Stabilization Agreement, an industry discussion group of ocean carriers covering the majority of trans-Pacific cargo volume.

Maersk, the world's largest ocean carrier, left the group in 2004 over disagreements with TSA decisions regarding rates and stabilization in the trans-Pacific routes. The TSA has been trying to woo the carrier back since. Since a reorganization of the group in 2007 under Neptune Orient Lines CEO Ron Widdows, the TSA has attracted or lured back the world's three largest carriers, including Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM.

Maersk's membership would bring the TSA roster to 15 carrier members and boost the TSA's coverage to more than 90 percent of trans-pacific cargo.

The TSA, which is allowed under the auspices of federal maritime law to provide a legal forum for carriers to discuss such things as cost-savings measures and rates, cannot formally set rates or assign capacity.

The move by Maersk, which supporters believe will help bring more stability to the trans-pacific, comes at a time when trans-Pacific carriers have suffered losses on the order of $3 billion.