On Thursday, maritime regulators from China, the U.S. and the European Union agreed upon a co-op effort in order to monitor more closely tie-ups amongst shipping groups.

During the course of the past year, Asian and European container shipping groups have managed to form or expand vessel-sharing alliances and the four primary groupings have control of over 90% of the market regarding all key global routes.

“Given the continuous growth levels regarding the carriers’ co-op efforts, authorities have considered that sector monitoring would require a closer contact and a better type of communication between the respective competition and appointed regulatory authorities,” the European Commission commented via a statement.

In September, France-based CMA CGM container shipping group managed to seal an alliance, with United Arab Shipping Co (UASC) and China Shipping Container Lines Co Ltd. (CSCL), called Ocean Three, in an effort to save expenditures.

The largest vessel-sharing agreement in the world, 2M featuring MSC and Maersk Line, became operational back in January.

Last year, China vetoed a proposed partnership between MSC, Maersk and CMA.

The shipping industry has been engaged in a battle with overcapacity resulting from a glut of all new ships that were placed on order during a boom period preceding the 2007-2009 world financial crisis, thus forcing vessel operators to search for new means of boosting up their efficiency.

The EU Commission commented that it had hosted the meeting with the Chinese ministry of transport and the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission, focusing on the increased level of tie-ups regarding shipping and regulatory –related port issues.