FRENCH container ship owner and operator Compagnie Maritime d'Affretement (CMA) has entered into a slot charter agreement with the three container lines in the Tonnage Sharing Agreement (TSA) on its Joint Overseas Service (JOS) between the Asia and North Europe. The three lines are Compagnie Generale Maritime Orient (CGM), Nedlloyd Lines (NLL) and Malaysian International Shipping Corp (MISC). The agreement will be effective from the end of this month, enabling the TSA members to take a pre-determined number of slots on the expanding JOS. A CMA spokesman said details of slot allocation under the new agreement, and its duration cannot be disclosed at this stage. ''The agreement will operate for a period of several months, however, while these members of the TSA progressively build up operational capacity aimed at reaching their own service objectives during 1995,'' he said. CMA has four weekly calls at Hong Kong with its Med Club Express (MEX) service and two weekly, fixed-day sailings with JOS. Five new 3,200 to 3,400 TEU Star-class container ships are in operation on CMA's JOS service. Three more of these larger, 22.5-knot vessels are scheduled to join its 10-ship fleet by the end of this year. MEX was launched in January in association with Nippon Yusen Kaisha of Japan and Yang Ming Marine of Taiwan. Three modern container ships of 2,000 to 2,300 TEUs are employed by each member of the consortium. CMA also plans to start a direct service from Southeast Asia to the US east coast in the third quarter of this year. The weekly service, using five ships of 1,100 TEUs also will link the US and South America to the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf through the hub port of Damietta. Far East cargoes will be shipped to Singapore for connection with the new service. NLL is one of the four big container shipping companies which announced plans this month to form an alliance to provide liner services from Asia to Europe and North America. NLL and Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), American President Lines (APL) and Japan's Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) have started negotiations which, if successful, would create the alliance over the next two years. Under the plan, the four carriers would work together in a joint Asia-Europe service along with NLL's TSA partners. MOL and the TSA group had earlier announced plans to establish a joint service next year. OOCL and APL would join this service under arrangements to be finalised in future discussions. In the transpacific trade, APL and OOCL already exchange vessels space, co-ordinate sailings and share terminals under an agreement that extends to 2005. OOCL, APL, MOL and NLL also are discussing the possibility of a joint, all-water service via the Panama Canal from Asia to the US east coast.