rss icon Subscribe
desktop mobile

Cargo Shipping to Keep EU Antitrust Exemption until 2024

© Marcus Millo / Adobe Stock

By Foo Yun Chee

Cargo shipping companies will be exempt from antitrust rules against anti-competitive agreements for a further four years until 2024 because this leads to lower prices and better consumer services, EU antitrust regulators said on Tuesday.

First adopted in 2009 and extended for five years in 2014, the consortia block exemption regulation will be prolonged for four more years to April 2024, the European Commission said in a statement.

It allows liner shipping operators with a combined market share below 30% to cooperate to provide joint liner shipping services, known as consortia, but does not allow price-fixing or market-sharing, both of which are hallmarks of cartels.

Following a consultation launched last year, the EU competition watchdog said feedback showed the regulation still offers benefits to the liner shipping industry.

"The consortia block exemption regulation results in efficiencies for carriers that can better use vessels' capacity and offer more connections," the EU competition enforcer said.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which represents over 80% of the world merchant fleet, welcomed the news.

"The decision is very important because it will also influence the position taken by other competition authorities around the world," ICS Deputy Secretary General Simon Bennett said in a statement.

"While the Commission arrived at its important decision before COVID-19 took hold, the knowledge that co-operative vessel sharing arrangements can continue with legal certainty will assist the recovery of global maritime trade once the current crisis is over," he said.

The trade body the Global Shippers' Forum (GSF) had previously criticized the exemption, saying it was not the solution to the industry's woes.

"In our view the Commission has missed the opportunity to ask the bigger questions about how the shipping sector got into its current situation of historically low shipping rates and over-capacity on many routes," GSF secretary-general James Hookham said in a statement in November last year.


(Reuters reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Barbara Lewis)

Mar 25, 2020

 

Legal

Höegh Xiamen Declared 'Total Loss' After Jacksonville Fire

A fire broke out on board the 600-foot vehicle carrier Hoegh Xiamen, at Blount Island in Jacksonville, Fla. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Jessica Maldonado Gonzalez)

Höegh Xiamen car carrier has been declared "a constructive total loss" following a fire that broke

US Lifts Some Venezuela-related Sanctions

© Valery Cherezov / MarineTraffic.com

The United States on Thursday lifted sanctions on Marshall Islands-based Delos Voyager Shipping

US Files Suit to Seize Iranian Gasoline on Tankers Headed to Venezuela

File photo of the tanker Bering (© Huw Gibby / MarineTraffic.com)

U.S. prosecutors late on Wednesday filed a lawsuit to seize the gasoline aboard four tankers that

Government Update

Responder Immunity: The Means to Protect the Salvor in “Bet the Company” Responses

The specter of liability beyond the limits of applicable insurance for the salvor’s liability to both its contractual partner and third parties continues to haunt the American

Marine Salvage and SMFF Regulations

THE GOLDEN RAY response project, although still unfinished, provides a stark example of how easily the US spill response program can get off track. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Brian McCrum

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA, often called the Clean Water Act)

Waterways Council, Inc.’s 2020 Vision

© PeekCC/AdobeStock

Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) is the national public policy organization that advocates for a

Maritime Apps