The Federal Maritime Commission voted this week to approve an agreement that will lead to the deployment of more than 50 ships in the Trans-Pacific, improving trade at almost 30 ports in Asia, the East Coast of North America, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, the Indian Sub-continent, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Under the G6 Alliance, the agreement authorizes involved parties to charter and exchange space on one another’s vessels and to coordinate and cooperate with respect to the parties’ transportation services and operations in the trade between ports in North Asia, South Asia, the Middle East (including the Persian Gulf region), Spain, Italy, Egypt, Panama, Jamaica and Canada, on the one hand, and U.S. East Coast ports via the Panama and Suez canals, on the other hand, as well as ports and points served via such U.S. and foreign ports. The new partnership is scheduled to begin in May 2013 with six coordinated service loops. Three of the services will transit via the Suez Canal while the remaining three will transit via the Panama Canal.

This agreement comes at an important time, as a round of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations in Singapore wrapped up on March 13.  Participants included all 11 members of the TPP, including Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, United States, Singapore and Vietnam.