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Maersk ship entering the Port of Rotterdam. Photo: Shutterstock

Maersk ship entering the Port of Rotterdam. Photo: Shutterstock

Container Shipping Lines to Lose EU Antitrust Exemption from 2024

Total Views: 1470
October 10, 2023

BRUSSELS, Oct 10 (Reuters) – Cargo shipping companies will from next year no longer enjoy a decades-long exemption from EU rules against anti-competitive agreements because this derogation does not boost competition any more, EU antitrust regulators said on Tuesday.

First adopted in 2009, the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER) allows liner shipping operators with a combined market share below 30% to team up to provide joint cargo transport services as long as they do not fix prices or share markets between themselves.

The European Commission said it would let the exemption, extended in 2014 and 2020, to lapse in April next year.

“Given the small number and profile of consortia falling within the scope of the CBER, the CBER brings limited compliance cost savings to carriers and plays a secondary role in carriers’ decision to cooperate,” the EU executive said in a statement.

“Furthermore, over the evaluation period, the CBER was no longer enabling smaller carriers to cooperate among each other and offer alternative services in competition with larger carriers,” the Commission, which acts as the competition enforcer in the 27-country European Union, said.

Cargo shippers looking to cooperate will have to assess themselves whether this complies with EU antitrust rules.

The EU competition watchdog has allowed for exemptions for certain sectors over the years in an effort to promote competition.

(Reporting by Foo Yun CheeEditing by Mark Potter)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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