Maersk Sealand quits TSA
In a move with implications for contract pricing in the eastbound transpacific trade, Maersk Sealand said it has decided to withdraw from the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement, effective Sept. 17.
“Maersk Sealand wants to respond faster to customers’ requirements,” a Maersk spokesman told American Shipper. “We feel we can do it better individually.”
The resignation from the Pacific trade’s principal rate discussion group represents a break with tradition for Maersk, which has been a member of TSA and its predecessor carrier groups for many years.
TSA as a group adopts non-binding recommendations on rates and service terms, but it does not have the authority to make its members implement the rates. TSA is regarded as influential in setting proposed rate increases that are later incorporated partly or in full in individual service contracts between TSA carriers and shippers. However, in this year’s round of contract negotiations, TSA carriers were largely unable to secure significant rate increases despite their stronger bargaining position in the current tight shipping market. The U.S. Ocean Reform Shipping Act of 1998 is seen as having weakened the ability of carrier groups to influence market prices.
Maersk Sealand also left the Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement in 2002.
After Maersk Sealand’s departure, the remaining TSA carriers will be APL, CMA CGM, COSCO Container Lines, Evergreen, Hanjin Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, “K” Line, MOL, NYK Line, OOCL, P&O Nedlloyd and Yang Ming.
In a separate development, TSA has set up an informational Web site at www.tsacarriers.org . The carrier group said the new site provides shippers, government agencies, industry analysts, the trade press and the broad shipping public with information about TSA; analysis and forecasting of market, cost and supply-demand trends; listings of recent and upcoming adjustments to TSA voluntary rate and ancillary charge guidelines; tables and instructions to calculate the quarterly-adjusted TSA bunker fuel charge in advance; and archived press releases, fact sheets, speeches and other material.