Member line executives from the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) met with a diverse group of 27 customers in a first-of-its-kind exchange between ocean carriers and shippers.

The newly-created TSA Executive Committee, which includes CEOs from four of TSA’s 12 shipping lines ’ convened a three-hour meeting to exchange views on a variety of topics including: conditions in the transpacific trade over the next three years; building greater trust and understanding in the carrier-shipper relationship; and the importance of service issues in contract negotiations.

TSA, established in 1989, is a discussion and research group made up of major container shipping companies serving the trade from Asia to the US. The Agreement underwent a restructuring last November, placing management directly into the hands of the Executive Committee, which includes the CEOs of APL, Ltd., Evergreen Marine Corp., Hanjin Shipping Co., Ltd. and NYK Line.

‘Speaking for the other CEOs on the executive committee, I want to express TSA’s gratitude to all of those customers to who took the time to join us at the session,’ said Ron Widdows, Chairman of the committee and CEO of global container carrier APL. ‘Carriers and shippers have taken an important first step, in keeping with TSA’s evolving mission to establish a new, constructive kind of dialogue in the trans-Pacific market.’

Widdows called today’s meeting a beginning in achieving greater candor and openness in shipper-carrier relations. ‘Our objective,’ he added, ‘is to directly engage with customers and share market information at a level that helps all parties manage costs and assets, better understand each other’s businesses, and make effective business planning decisions.’

Widdows said that TSA will follow up by regularly providing research and analysis that carriers can share with their customers, and that TSA lines intend to hold subsequent meetings with shippers in the near future to continue the dialogue on trans-Pacific issues.