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03 March 2021 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 10:01 GMT+1



January 25, 2021

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Original news
The EU will not launch an investigation into the abnormal state of the containerised maritime transport market unless it is proposed a legal action

CLECAT and ESC will evaluate the possibility of submitting a formal complaint to the European Commission

On Saturday, delegates from clecat (European Association for Forwarding, Transport, Logistics and Customs Services) and esc (European Shippers' Council) met online with the representatives of the Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission to discuss the current situation of the containerised maritime transport market. In the course of the meeting of the representatives of the two associations, who represent shippers and shippers, they reiterated, as repeatedly in recent months, that market conditions are "without 'chaotic'.

Given in hand, representatives of CLECAT and ESC explained that in recent months there has been a sudden growth blank sailing, with the cancellation of stopovers in numerous ports, a phenomenon that in relation to some traffic routes increased by more than 30%. In addition the sharp deterioration in reliability has been highlighted schedules, with only 50% of the ships that last year met the dates of arrival and departure from ports originally Scheduled. In particular, however, CLECAT and ESC have underlined the exorbitant increase in the value of noli, tariffs - specified the two associations -- which many customers have had to accept in order for their goods to be rates - clecat and esc have also complained - which determined for many small and medium-sized enterprises the consequence of lose money and assets.

CLECAT and ESC pointed out that these circumstances are supported by facts such as the lack of availability of empty containers, the violation of contractual clauses relating to to the noli, the application of spot noli whose value has risen up to 16, 000 dollars per container teu transported and the application of different nicknames, as well as the frequent repositioning cargo despite the fact that the freight forwarders had accepted freight very high.

CLECAT and ESC have announced that the commission's representatives European Commission have replied that they are absolutely aware of the current situation of this market, including the recent increase in prices that - they specified the two associations - "from their point of view it was mainly effect of the decline and increase in demand as a result of the covid-19 crisis». In addition, CLECAT and ESC pointed out that the Commission's representatives 'specified that the price increases as such are not considered to be a reason sufficient to launch an investigation.'

"The Directorate-General for Competition- explained the two associations - argued that for the European market they are only two circumstances in which the European Commission has full right to initiate an investigation: once a formal investigation has been restarted revision of the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation. In this case carriers will be asked to provide data and of course other stakeholders will also be invited to provide Information. Or in the context of legal action. In this in the event of a legal initiative must be based on facts and include sufficiently solid evidence of breaches of Articles 101 and/or Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.'

CLECAT and ESC pointed out that, however, on their insistence, the Directorate-General for Competition has acknowledged that this situation needs an overall overview and, therefore, at least of a new confrontation with the authorities of the competition in the maritime sector in several parts of the world and, in particular, in this regard, recalled that the last trialogue with the Federal Maritime Commission and with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs China's trade took place in 2019.

In addition - clecat and esc again specified - the representatives of the EU Commission announced that they would dialogue between all market participants in order to find a common approach to all current market problems and to identify an action plan for a overall solution.

In the light of the replies of the representatives of DG Competition, CLECAT and esc have announced that they will evaluate together if it is possible to lodge a formal complaint with the European Commission.

For its part, the ESC highlighted the difficulty of make a detailed complaint due to the fact that, if from a on the side the few major maritime carriers in the world can easily provide data to be considered as a primary source and relevant information, on the other hand, for shippers it is very difficult to process information on the basis of a large amount of data from thousands of sources.

As if to give companies one last chance containerised maritime vessels before possible recourse to the lawyers, remembering that these companies have a duty to assume specific responsibilities in exchange for exempting them european competition rules, the ESC has stated the need for shipping companies and shipping companies to representative bodies act immediately in order to bring the current situation back to normal in the most short time possible and to ensure full collaboration to identify ways and means to prevent future such situations will be repeated.

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