• 2022 August 10 17:26

    US antitrust Commission seeks feedback on performance of exemption for liner shipping consortia

    The European Commission has launched a call for evidence inviting feedback on the performance of the EU legal framework which exempts liner shipping consortia from EU antitrust rules (Consortia Block Exemption Regulation or ‘CBER'), according to The European Commission's release.

    The Commission has also sent targeted questionnaires to interested parties in the maritime liner shipping supply chain (i.e. carriers, shippers and freight forwarders, port and terminal operators) on the impact of consortia between liner shipping companies, as well as of the CBER on their operations since 2020.

    Interested parties can provide comments for eight weeks, until 3 October 2022.

    EU antitrust rules generally ban agreements between companies that restrict competition. However, the CBER allows, under certain conditions, shipping lines with a combined market share of below 30% to enter into cooperation agreements to provide joint cargo transport services, also known as ‘consortia'.

    The CBER is due to expire on 25 April 2024. The Commission therefore needs to carry out an evaluation of the CBER on how it has functioned since 2020.

    Today's call for evidence and targeted questionnaires are part of the evaluation of the CBER. The feedback collected by the Commission will complement the evidence it has collected as part of its sectoral monitoring activities. Over the last two years, the Commission has had regular exchanges with market participants, such as shippers, freight forwarders and carriers, as well as with competition and regulatory authorities in Europe, the US and other jurisdictions, on the challenges faced by the shipping sector. In December 2021, as part of its sectoral monitoring activities, the Commission also started a fact-finding exercise by sending questionnaires to carriers active on trades to and from the EU, to collect market information, in particular on the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on their operations and on the maritime supply chain.

    Interested parties can submit their comments to the call for evidence and targeted questionnaires until 3 October 2022.

    The evaluation will help the Commission decide whether the CBER should expire or be extended again, with or without amendments. The Commission will summarise the results of the evaluation in a Staff Working Document that is planned to be published in the last quarter of 2022.

    Liner shipping services comprise the provision of regular, scheduled non-bulk maritime cargo transport (the vast majority in containers) on a specific route. They play an essential role in EU trade and for the EU economy as a whole. They require significant levels of investment and therefore are regularly provided by several shipping companies cooperating in consortia.

    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 from the application of Article 101(1) TFEU for a period limited to five years, with the possibility of extension. Accordingly, the Commission adopted in 2009 the CBER (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.

    The Commission prolonged the validity of the CBER in 2014 and 2020. The prolongation in 2020 was decided because the evaluation had shown that despite evolutions in the market (increased consolidation, concentration, technological change, increasing size of vessels) the CBER was still fit for purpose, in line with the Commission's "Better Regulation" approach to policy-making, and delivered on its objectives.

    Moreover, the consortia agreements that met the conditions set out in the CBER continued to satisfy the conditions laid down in Article 101(3) TFEU. More specifically, the Commission had found that the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation resulted in efficiencies for carriers that could better use vessels' capacity and offer more connections.

    The exemption only applied to consortia with a market share not exceeding 30% and whose members were free to price independently. In that context, those efficiencies resulted in lower prices and better quality of service for consumers. Specifically, the evaluation had shown that in recent years both costs for carriers and prices for customers per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) had decreased by approximately 30% and quality of service had remained stable.

    The extension was limited to four years, compared to the traditional five-year duration of the CBER, to be able to react more promptly in the event of any possible changes in market circumstances.




2024 June 22

15:47 MSC launches new Dahlia service for Asia to Mexico trade
13:29 BV hosts its 25th Hellenic and Black Sea Committee
12:24 HD KSOE develops scrubber technology for ammonia-fueled ships
10:04 Lloyd’s Register grants AiP to HD KSOE for novel ammonia fuel supply system

2024 June 21

18:09 HGK Shipping names future-fuel-ready dry goods inland waterway vessel
17:53 Chinese shipyards’ plans for next-generation ships
17:41 Emanuele Grimaldi re-elected as Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping
16:40 MAN Energy Solutions rejoins SEA-LNG
16:20 India to create $9bn mega port near Mumbai
15:58 Hanwha acquires U.S. Philly Shipyard for $100 million
15:25 DP World completes $400m Сallao Port expansion
14:10 Var Energi, OMV Norge and Lime Petroleum awarded CO2 storage licence in North Sea
13:44 Creos Luxembourg, Fluxys and GRTgaz announce the inclusion of project HY4Link in the European hydrogen network development plan
12:43 Fincantieri and Viking sign contracts for two cruise ships
12:25 First of two new-generation emergency response vessels delivered to Hong Kong Fire Service
12:16 MPA clarifies on liability claims for pollution damage
11:59 A fleet of four Union Maritime tankers to be fitted with Norsepower Rotor Sails
11:38 PortNews Media Group celebrates its 20-year anniversary
11:25 TotalEnergies launches the Ubeta gas development to supply Nigeria LNG liquefaction plant
11:13 SMST secures contract from Cochin Shipyard for mission equipment for North Star SOV
10:38 Lloyd’s Register and the World Liquid Gas Association issue report on the future of dual-fuel LPG engines
10:17 Equinor secures exploration permit for CO2 storage in Denmark
09:56 CMA CGM to reshuffle EURONAF & TMX 2, linking Turkey, Spain, France, Malta, Western Italy, Sicily, Algeria
09:53 Completion of TGS and PGS merger slated for Jul 1, 2024

2024 June 20

18:06 Mammoet begins assembly of world’s biggest land-based crane
17:41 KEZAD Group signs lease agreement with Astha Biotech for AED 44m Microalgae Plant in Abu Dhabi
17:28 DNV's SRC software service launches in Europe
16:19 Equinor awarded two new CO2 storage licenses in the North Sea
16:15 Saudi Global Ports expands capacity with new QC and RTG cranes
15:31 Naftemporiki: Tanker prices on secondary market show signs of stabilization
15:11 Kuala Baram dredging project will improve Miri Port
14:29 A consortium of DEME and Hellenic Cables secured large contract for Princess Elisabeth Island
14:12 Russell Group: German port workers strike could cost $6 billion in lost trade
13:18 Norway and Singapore partner to enhance green maritime collaboration
13:05 Jan De Nul wins contract to supply, install and test three 220 kV AC cables
12:31 MPA reports considerable progress in oil spill recovery efforts
12:07 Qatar Shipyard Technology Solutions to partner with Armada Technology to use its hull air lubrication system
11:44 MABUX: Bunker Outlook, Week 25, 2024
11:24 MPCC announces vessel acquisitions and new charter package deal
10:36 Topsoe, ABB and Fluor join forces for SOEC factory development in US
09:47 Shipping: Greece remains on the white list of the Paris MoU

2024 June 19

18:17 Wärtsilä propulsion solutions expected to deliver 5% fuel savings for International Seaways tankers
17:42 TGS market overview report: Strong expectations continue in offshore wind despite short-term downgrades
17:09 Vestas receives 577 MW order in Australia for second stage of the 1.3 GW Golden Plains wind project
16:37 Wintershall Dea makes discovery in Cuvette exploration well
16:07 Equinor expands renewables portfolio in Poland with a new solar plant
15:52 Shell signs agreement to acquire Pavilion Energy
15:19 LR releases its 3rd alternative fuels report concerning LPG as marine fuel
14:39 Greek-owned Liberian-flagged ship hit in Red Sea sinks
14:32 Samsung Heavy Industries unveils revolutionary K-PAW welding technology
13:51 DOF awards new Constructor Compact ROV systems contract to Kystdesign
13:47 Mitsubishi Shipbuilding receives orders for Japan's first methanol-fueled RORO cargo ships
13:28 Sirius Shipping to charter out its new tanker duo to Preem for transportation of renewable fuels, feedstock
12:39 Chartwell and Vard to advance new SOV design working with North Star
11:23 Wartsila launches world’s first large-scale 100% hydrogen-ready engine power plant
11:14 Industrial-scale floating green ammonia plant project enters next phase
10:06 ABP signs MOU with Marine Power Systems to advance floating offshore wind technology
09:44 Port of Antwerp Bruges: Deurganckdok oil spill clean-up completed

2024 June 18

18:13 Atlantic Towing and Svitzer modernise Halifax port fleet with new escort tugboats
17:38 Port of Long Beach sets $760 million annual budget
17:28 Unifeeder and MPC Container Ships announce a new collaboration to make joint investments into Energy Efficiency Technology
17:16 Port of Koper welcomes Astrid Maersk, the world’s second large green methanol-enabled vessel
16:43 Gasum plans a large-scale biogas plant in Sweden
16:15 GONDAN Shipbuilders secures 31-meters passenger catamaran contract from Líneas Romero
15:39 CMA CGM to strengthen its INDAMEX service connecting Indian Subcontinent with US East Coast
15:11 Maersk wins a heavy lift contract from Vestas
14:07 South Korea bolsters shipbuilding industry with $10.75 billion financial support
13:41 MOL joins SFC focused on decarbonizing international logistics
13:11 Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines joins the ISWAN
12:22 Carnival Corporation celebrates shore power launch at PortMiami after exceeding industry-leading milestone