EU seeks feedback on performance of exemption for liner shipping consortia
The European Commission has launched a call for submissions inviting comments on the performance of the EU legal framework which exempts liner shipping consortia from EU antitrust rules (Block Exemption Regulation of consortia or “CBER”).
The Commission has also sent targeted questionnaires to interested parties in the liner shipping supply chain on the impact of consortia between liner shipping companies, as well as from CBER on their operations since 2020. Interested parties can provide comments for eight weeks, until October 3, 2022.
EU antitrust rules generally prohibit agreements between companies that restrict competition. However, CBER allows, under certain conditions, shipping companies with a combined market share of less than 30% to enter into cooperative agreements to provide joint cargo transportation services, also known as “consortia”.
CBER is due to expire on April 25, 2024. The Commission must therefore carry out an evaluation of CBER on its operation since 2020.
The call for evidence and targeted questionnaires are part of CBER’s assessment. The feedback collected by the Commission will complement the evidence it has collected through its sector surveillance activities.
The assessment will help the Commission decide whether CBER should expire or be extended again, with or without modifications.
The Commission will summarize the results of the evaluation in a staff working document which is expected to be published in the last quarter of 2022.
The European Commission has extended the ‘Consortia Block Exemption Regulation’ for four years. The regulation outlines the conditions under which liner shipping consortia can provide joint services without breaching EU antitrust rules that prohibit anti-competitive agreements between companies. Now, the settlement is extended until April 25, 2024.