• 2020 March 25 18:06

    The European Commission prolongs the validity of block exemption for liner shipping consortia

    The European Commission has prolonged for another four years the regulation outlining the conditions under which liner shipping consortia can provide joint services without infringing EU antitrust rules that prohibit anticompetitive agreements between companies. This regulation known as the “Consortia Block Exemption Regulation” is therefore extended until 25 April 2024. More specifically, liner shipping consortia are agreements between shipping companies to operate joint liner shipping services and engage in certain types of operational cooperation leading to economies of scale and a better utilisation of the space on vessels.

    EU law generally bans agreements between companies that restrict competition. However, the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation allows, under certain conditions, liner shipping operators with a combined market share of below 30% to enter into cooperation agreements to provide joint liner shipping services (known as "consortia"). These agreements, however, cannot include price-fixing or market-sharing.

    The current Consortia Block Exemption Regulation was adopted in 2009 and prolonged in 2014 by five years, and was due to expire on 25 April 2020.
     
    In September 2018, the Commission launched a public consultation and conducted an evaluation of the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation, which included a wide consultation of stakeholders in the maritime liner shipping supply chain. The findings of the evaluation were summarised in a Staff Working Document, which was published in November 2019 on the webpage of the consultation.

    The evaluation has shown that despite evolutions in the market (increased consolidation, concentration, technological change, increasing size of vessels) the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation is still fit for purpose, in line with the Commission's "Better Regulation" approach to policy- making, and delivers on its objectives. Moreover, the consortia agreements that meet the conditions set out in the Consortia BER continue to satisfy the conditions laid down in Article 101(3) TFEU.

    More specifically, the Commission has found that the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation results in efficiencies for carriers that can better use vessels' capacity and offer more connections. The exemption only applies to consortia with a market share not exceeding 30% and whose members are free to price independently. In that context, those efficiencies result in lower prices and better quality of service for consumers. Specifically, the evaluation has shown that in recent years both costs for carriers and prices for customers per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) have decreased by approximately 30% and quality of service has remained stable.

    The Commission decided therefore to prolong the validity of the Regulation for four years.
     
    Liner shipping services comprise the provision of regular, scheduled non-bulk maritime cargo transport (the vast majority in containers) on a specific route. They require significant levels of investment and therefore are regularly provided by several shipping companies cooperating in "consortia" agreements. Consortia can lead to economies of scale and better use of the space of the vessels. A fair share of the benefits resulting from these efficiencies can be passed on to the users of the shipping services in terms of better coverage of ports and better services.

    Article 101(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union ("TFEU") prohibits agreements between companies that restrict competition. However, under Article 101(3) TFEU, such agreements can be declared compatible with the Single Market provided they contribute to improving the production or distribution of goods or to promoting technical or economic progress, while allowing consumers a fair share of the resulting benefits without eliminating competition.

    Council Regulation 246/2009 provides that, in accordance with the provisions of Article 101(3) TFEU, the Commission may exempt consortia agreements from the application of Article 101(1) TFEU for a period limited to five years, with the possibility of prolongation. Accordingly, the Commission has adopted the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (Commission Regulation (EC) No 906/2009), which sets the specific conditions for such an exemption. These conditions notably aim at ensuring that customers enjoy a fair share of the resulting benefits.


2020 September 23

18:15 HMM opens Fleet Control Centre
17:35 Stena develops a solution to use recycled batteries in charging stations at port
17:05 Philippine Ports Authority COVID-19 Molecular Testing Center for seafarers now operational
16:42 British Ports responds to reasonable worst-case scenario Brexit assumptions
16:17 Vestdavit wins contract to supply six Australian Navy patrol boats
16:03 ABB powers P&O super-ferries towards new sustainable transport era
15:43 Royal Niestern Sander orders SCHOTTEL thrusters for world’s first shallow-draught ice-breaking walk-to-work vessel
15:25 FESCO’s Board of Directors elected new Management Board
15:03 Kalmar’s fuel-efficient terminal tractor solutions selected by Yilport for fleet expansion at Puerto Bolívar and Gävle container terminals
14:47 RF Government to revise comprehensive plan for upgrading and expanding core infrastructure
14:30 U.S. Coast Guard awards four more fast response cutters to Bollinger Shipyards
14:01 ESPO expresses commitment of European ports to play their part in helping shipping sector decarbonise
13:28 Travelling by ferry between Finland and Sweden is now permitted without restrictions
13:19 Damen delivers ASD Tug 2810 to Thomas Service Maritimes
13:02 Van Oord’s Deep Dig-It trencher buries cables to 5,5 metres depth for offshore grid connection
12:44 Nakhodka Shipyard launched two self-propelled freight/passenger barges ordered by Kamchatka Transport Ministry
12:15 Construction of LNG transshipment facility in Kamchatka put under special control of RF Government
12:01 CMA CGM announces FAK rates from Asia to North Africa and to the Mediterranean
11:53 Maersk partners with IB Cargo to offer tailored logistics solutions for IKEA Supply AG in Romania
11:09 Konecranes wins Automation Service Contract in Indonesia
10:51 Bunker prices increase in the Port of Saint-Petersburg, Russia (graph)
10:32 IAA PortNews offers photos from farewell ceremony for Project 22220 icebreaker Arktika leaving for Murmansk
10:13 BlueWater Reporting: Asia-South America trades sees high demand, equipment shortages
10:00 RF Government approves new NSR navigation rules
09:41 Oil prices decrease amid information about growing US reserves
09:29 Maritime Safety Committee adopts resolution on Recommended action to facilitate ship crew change
09:26 Baltic Dry Index as of September 22
09:12 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Sept 23
08:48 MPA and SMI launched a joint call for proposals on the electrification of harbourcraft in the port of Singapore

2020 September 22

18:24 FESCO launches new maritime service from ports of China and USA to Chukotka
18:06 Aker Solutions wins electrification work for Lundin Energy Norway
17:49 Onezhsky Shipyard launches yet another self-propelled hopper barge of Project NV-600
17:36 DNV GL – Maritime releases the fourth edition of its Maritime Forecast to 2050
17:15 KNUD E. HANSEN introduces new design of icebreaking expedition cruise vessel
16:56 Vyborg Shipyard lays down processing trawler of KMT02.03 design
16:35 "NextGEN" shipping decarbonization concept mooted for green and efficient navigation
16:19 USC and KOMEA create Russia-Korea shipbuilding and ship equipment cluster
16:05 Hopper Dredger First to Sail 2,000 Hours on 100% Sustainable Marine Biofuel
15:34 Boudewijn Siemons appointed as new Port Authority COO
15:10 The largest LNG-powered container ship joins CMA CGM Group's fleet
14:58 Lead nuclear-powered icebreaker of Project 22220, the Arktika, heads out for Murmansk
14:23 Release of containers at Port of Antwerp will be digitalized
14:17 Gazprombank to loan EUR 522 for construction of floating LNG storage units
13:22 Konecranes to start cooperation negotiations in Germany and Finland in its Industrial Equipment business area
13:00 Ships of RF Navy’s Black Sea Fleet participated in Kavkaz-2020
12:38 Bunker market sees mixed price movements in the Far East ports of Russia (graph)
12:15 Dogger Bank wind farm places record-breaking turbine order boosting local jobs
11:49 BIMCO adopts the industry’s first ship sale and leaseback standard
11:46 Operation of Novosibirsk gateway completed in navigation season of 2020
11:20 Rosmorport prepares tender documentation to continue construction of international marine terminal in Pionersky
10:33 IAA PortNews’ webinar “All Ferries. Caspian Basin” scheduled for 30 September 2020
10:09 Port Houston container volumes down 4% to 248,630 TEUs in August 2020
09:55 New gas tanker form paves the way for revision of ASBATANKVOY
09:31 Oil prices are recovering
09:22 Keppel O&M secures two contracts worth approximately $200 million
09:14 Baltic Dry Index as of September 21
08:38 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Sept 22

2020 September 21

18:27 CMA CGM announces new PSS, FAK and GRR from Asia to North Europe
18:07 IUMI reports that marine cargo insurance market is “improving amid significant change”
17:43 BIMCO adopts the industry’s first ship sale and leaseback standard