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World Shipping Council defends vessel-sharing arrangements

The World Shipping Council (WSC) released a statement supporting the use of vessel-sharing arrangements (VSAs), which are being phased out under a new US law.

The new U.S. law H.R. 1696 intends to eliminate these arrangements, thereby undermining competitiveness and option for liner transportation services, according to WSC.

“Nobody has offered a reason why we should throw away such a useful tool as VSAs, and I think some of the rhetoric comes from a misunderstanding about how VSAs help the supply chain work better," stated John Butler, president & CEO of the WSC.

WSC said VSAs are operational arrangements that allow carriers to share space on each other's ships, while carriers can guarantee that vessels travel as fully as feasible, lowering transportation costs.

Butler added, "We look forward to working with the bill’s sponsors to better understand their policy objectives. A similar bill was introduced in the last Congress, but did not gather significant support".

The World Shipping Council noted in its announcement that vessel sharing enables more carriers to compete on service, providing more regular sailings and servicing more ports, while customers benefit from lower prices and improved service, as well as fewer transportation emissions.

WSC further claimed that "each member of a VSA determines its own commercial terms, including prices. Therefore, carriers within a VSA compete with each other, and with other carriers outside of that VSA, when selling their services to customers. Carriers also offer services outside of the VSAs in which they participate."

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