March 21 - The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has given the official go ahead for the P3 network, comprising Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) and CMA-CGM, to become effective from March 24, 2014.

The agreement will apply to trades between the USA and Asia, North Europe and the Mediterranean and authorises the three lines to co-operate through vessel and slot sharing agreements.

An official statement from the FMC says: "The Commission's decision is based on a determination that the agreement is not likely at this time, by a reduction in competition, to produce an unreasonable increase in transportation cost or an unreasonable reduction in transportation service."

However, the commission notes that there may be circumstances that could permit the P3 agreement parties to unreasonably reduce services or unreasonably raise rates at some point in the future, which could raise concerns under section 6(g). It has directed staff to issue alternative reporting requirements to the P3 agreement parties, in order to assist the commission in its ongoing close monitoring of the agreement.