The maritime service level can improve by monitoring alliances to prevent less choice in price, service levels and routes, proportional environmental measures, a European framework for state aid to ports and more competition and financial transparency between seaports.
Container liners are fighting against overcapacity in the market. Alliances are one of the instruments they use facing this challenge. Potentially alliances can reduce choices in price, service level and sailings. The ESC should be alert in monitoring the developments and if necessary inform DG COMP.
The European Commission in 2014 decided to renew the EU Block exemption. The ESC regrets this step as this is not in the interest of the service levels. Formally, the first possibility to react on this decision is in 2018/2019. CLECAT and the ESC will gather information to clarify the impact to the market.
Port State Aid
One of the key goals of the EU is to create a level playing field and a single internal market. Individual measures of member-states in investments and in financing hinterland infrastructure can however disturb this level playing field. In order to restore this, a European framework for states and ports could be helpful. By starting an investigation into the situation in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany could be a good start for such a process.
The sulphur directive is one of the measures taken by the EU to reduce the emissions, including SO2, NOx and CO2. Side effects of the measures could be higher fuel costs and the risk of a reverse modal shift. A further disadvantage is the regional character of the measures. This can potentially disrupt the level playing field. The ESC should promote voluntary measures and if possible include environmental KPI’s and monitor the financial and economic impact of the EU sulphur directive.
Weighing of Containers
The obligation for weighing containers should be applied as restricted as possible. In a supply chain there are sufficient alternatives at hand to prevent physical weighing. The ESC will make an inventory of the alternatives and present them to the competent authorities.