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25 September 2022 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 23:34 GMT+2

August 9, 2022

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Original news
Brussels launches consultation on effectiveness antitrust exemption for containerized shipping

The EU Commission also sent to stakeholders questionnaires on the impact of consortia of shipping companies of line on their activities from 2020 to today

Until yesterday reluctant, indeed expressly opposed ( of 25 January 2021), to review this market, today the Commission European seems intent on taking up the case again, as repeatedly urged for some time by the main representations of European shippers who ask not only to verify that the containerized shipping market is not distorted - as they believe - by an excessive and unlawful degree of concentration and cooperation between shipping companies, but also for identify once and for all those responsible for the continuing serious dysfunctions of the maritime supply chain, which shippers do not they hesitate to identify in the same oceanic carriers.

Today the European Commission published a call for applications contributions on the effectiveness of the EU legal framework - the Regulation No 246/2009 block exemption for consortia (CBER) - exempting liner shipping consortia from EU antitrust rules. CBER allows companies of navigation with a combined market share of less than 30% to conclude, under certain conditions, cooperation agreements (consortia) to provide joint freight transport services. True is that this invitation is periodically disseminated in view of the regulation deadline set for April 25, 2024 ( of 24 March 2020). Today, however, the Commission has made a extra step by sending to supply stakeholders liner shipping chain (ocean carriers, shippers and freight forwarders, port operators and terminal operators) questionnaires targeted on the impact of consortia of shipping companies of line, as well as of the CBER Regulation, on their activities from 2020 to today. It is quite clear that this step can be considered hesitant, if not irrelevant by the associations of the chargers, since they repeatedly prayed until yesterday the European Commission to open an investigation into this market and on the rules governing it ( of 22 July 2022).

Brussels has indicated that interested parties have eight weeks of time, until next October 3, to present remarks. CLECAT, FEPORT, European Shippers' Council, European Barge Union, Global Shippers' Forum, European Tugowners Association, UIRR, FIATA, International Association of Movers, FIDI Global Alliance and other associations of operators in the sector logistic-port will have to do nothing but collect in a the only file, if it can contain them, the complaints that in recent months and years they have addressed to the EU Commission and send it to Brussels by that date.

With this step, the Commission seems to be asking shippers the "evidence" of the negative consequences on their activities caused by the regulation. Proof that precisely one year and half a half ago the leaders of the European Commission had invited the shippers to collect and then start a legal action deemed essential to proceed with the opening of an investigation into this market.

Consultation with stakeholders, however, will support as previously the European Commission to decide whether the CBER Regulation should or should not be extended and, if so, (as it had decided in 2014 and 2020), with or without changes. The The Commission has announced that it will present a summary of the results of the evaluation by the end of this year.

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