Consultations of the European Commission regarding Block Exemption Regulation

ESC is encouraging shippers to respond to the recently published consultations of the European Commission evaluating the BER, affecting current maritime alliances scenario (see context information below).

As the process is guided by a firm schedule, please consider the following calendar:

  • Targeted questionnaire: DG Competition would like to receive your input and feedback. Undertakings that are interested in receiving the targeted questionnaire, need to express their interest of participation by sending an email to DG COMP’s  functional mail box The deadline for the expression of interest is Friday, 12 October 2018. DG COMP expects the answers to the questionnaire by Thursday, 20 December 2018 at the very latest.  
  • Public questionnaire: In addition, DG Competition has launched – for a period of 12 weeks – a public consultation to evaluate the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation. The Commission press release on the topic can be found here and the public questionnaire to respond to is available online hereDG COMP expects the answers to the questionnaire by Thursday, 20 December 2018 at the very latest.

In our opinion, it is an excellent opportunity to contribute constructively to this issue of vital importance for the maritime supply chain.

Please come back to us ( for any doubt, clarification or information you may wish to share or comment.



The Block Exemption Regulation (BER) expires early 2020 and DG Competition has started the regulation’s review with the first round of consultations taking place early May 2018. A second review round has started in September. As you are very likely aware, Liner Shipping Companies can operate under the Block Exemption Regulation which offers these  companies more opportunities to cooperate than under regular competition law. The aim is to make container shipping more effective and more efficient. This can be done as long as their joint market share is less than 30% and as long as the improved effectiveness and efficiency is shared with their customers (read: shippers).

Since the start of the review process, the BER has been a key topic on the agenda of ESC’s Maritime Council where a critical view on the benefits the BER is delivering to shippers and cargo owners has been debated.

For more info about ESC’s position on the BER and its impact on today’s effectiveness and efficiency of the maritime supply chain, please consult the previous ESC newsletter articles: