EU to Extend Liner Consortia Block Exemption by Four Years

BY Tiya Chatterji 23.Nov.2019

The European Commission has articulated that it is set to extend liner shipping’s consortia exemption from its antitrust regulations, concluding that it is "still adequate".

The Consortia Block Exemption Regulation, the de facto legislation covering liner alliances and vessel-sharing agreements (VSAs) on container trades to and from Europe, was set to expire April 25, 2020.

However, the EU on Nov. 20 declared that, subject to a four-week “feedback period” running until Dec. 18, it favored extending BER for four years. The news was welcomed by liner shipping lobby group and the World Shipping Council.

“EU rules normally prevent companies from working together in a way that might restrict competition, but companies shipping cargo by sea have been granted an exemption from this ban as they often need to work together to make their operations more financially viable and efficient,” said the EC decision.

Its president and chief executive, John Butler, said: “Vessel sharing arrangements are an established and essential part of the liner shipping networks that carry the international trade of the EU and the rest of the world. “Consortia allow carriers to provide their customers with better services at lower cost, with improved environmental performance.”