EC evaluates Block Exemption Regulation in liner shipping

Brussels, 7 May 2018, the Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission launched an evaluation process of the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (Commission Regulation 906/2009). The European Shippers’ Council is preparing an official reaction, but individual shippers are also free to participate in the questionnaire and evaluation process. ESC is receiving a number of concerns from shippers on the competition between liners and alliances. The evaluation of the BER is an opportunity to address these concerns.

The Block Exemption Regulation (BER) that is currently in place allows shipping lines on certain conditions to enter into cooperation agreements (so-called “consortia”). These agreements are declared compatible with the internal 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.

Shippers as the users of services provided by consortia, or alliances in this case, should be able to benefit from improvements in productivity and service quality of these new alliances.

Launching this evaluation, the European Commission counts, amongst other sources, on the input from shippers. The Commission will collect evidence and stakeholders’ views to assess whether the Consortia BER is effective, efficient, coherent with other competition policy measures, still relevant and creating EU added value.

This EC evaluation lasts 4 weeks. More info about the BER including the questionnaire can be found here.