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Friday, April 25, 2014

Kilili: Shipping proposal could affect costs of goods in NMI

Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) joined five other members of U.S. Congress in asking the Federal Maritime Commission to carefully review a proposed vessel sharing deal that could affect the costs of goods in Hawaii and other Pacific territories such as the CNMI.

The three largest shipping companies in the world—Maersk Line, MSC, and CMA-CGM—announced the creation of a new vessel sharing agreement, the P3 Alliance.

Given its current makeup, the P3 Alliance will control 58 percent of vessels with greater than 10,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit capacity and 80 percent of vessels over 16,000 TEU.

The six U.S. Congress members—Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, Rep. Don Young, Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo, U.S. Virgin Islands Delegate Donna Christensen, American Samoa Delegate Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, and Sablan—said they neither support nor oppose the P3 Alliance concept at this time.

“Yet, the State of Hawaii and the Pacific territories rely more heavily on ocean shipping for food, medicine, fuel, and other life-sustaining goods than perhaps any other region of these United States,” the lawmakers told Federal Maritime Commission chair Mario Cordero in a Dec. 4 letter.

Along with the other Pacific area representatives who signed the letter to the FMC chairman, Sablan said he took no position on whether the commission should approve the proposed P3 Alliance.

“Together the combination would control 58 percent of large, ocean-going cargo carriers. Pacific areas are particularly dependent on ocean shipping to provide basic commodities, and the Alliance could exert considerable influence on pricing and availability of goods. We have asked the commission to fully consider the effects of the proposed P3 Alliance,” Sablan said.

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