P3 delay confirmed

P3 Network partners Maersk Line, MSC and CMA CGM have confirmed that their container shipping alliance will not start until the autumn at the earliest.

The alliance of the three biggest container lines across the main east–west trades was intended to start operating by this summer, but has been held up by delays in obtaining regulatory clearance in Europe and Asia.

The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) gave its go-ahead to the P3 Network in March.

The partners say the P3 is aimed at improving efficiency and quality for customers by  providing more frequent and reliable services with a greater spread of port pairings.

But many cargo shippers criticise the alliance, and the knock-on effect of pushing other carriers into bigger groupings, for reducing competition and choice on the main trade lanes.

The P3 partners say they are continuing to cooperate with competition and maritime authorities in Europe and Asia to address questions about the nature of the alliance.