ESC Maritime Day: possibility of BER modification

Rotterdam, the 20th of March 2019, the participants of the ESC Maritime Day discussed the ongoing evaluation of the EU Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (BER) and the new International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) sulphur cap.

The current BER expires on the 25th of April 2020. Itai Rabinovici, a European Commission officer, said that his competition division would provide the College of Commissioners with the most thorough and unbiased analysis of the current situation in maritime and lay out possible next steps.

His division is currently preparing a technical paper – a staff working document – that will be released in spring.

The College of Commissioners will have to decide whether to repeal, extend, or modify the liner block exemption regulation.

ESC welcomes the possibility of a change in the BER. However, according to Itai Rabinovici, any decision to change the regulation will involve another lengthy process.

Rabinovici said that once a decision has been made to prolong the regulation, any modifications will be put to another public consultation, most likely over the summer.

The other major topic covered during the ESC Maritime Day was the IMO sulphur cap that would be enforced from the 1st of January 2020. Some carriers have already started making the transition from heavy fuel oil to the 0.5 percent low-sulphur fuel. And some of them have already introduced surcharges to cover the expected hike in costs. According to numbers given at the ESC Maritime Day, fuel prices could increase by as much as 85% following the introduction of the cap. According to Ronald Backers, a business intelligence adviser at the port of Rotterdam, “one of the big uncertainties is that the oil companies have no idea what volume the fuel will need to be produced in, and what price it will be sold for.”

The availability of the new low-sulphur fuel is also a concern. With low-sulphur that will be in high demand from late 2019 onwards, accommodating the need could be hard.

ESC thanks its partners, the speakers representing the European Commission, the Port of Rotterdam, Federation of European Private Port Companies and Terminals (Feport), Erasmus University, Drewry, the Global Shippers’ Alliance (GSA), Belgian Shippers’ Council (OTM), the Boosting Initiatives for Collaborative Emission-reduction with the Power of Shippers (BICEPS Network of Cargo Owners), and the participants for their contribution to the effective discussions during the ESC Maritime Day.

The Maritime Day was organised in cooperation with the Global Shippers’ Alliance, evofenedex (Dutch Shippers’ Council), and Transprime (Spanish Shippers’ Council) and kindly sponsored by the Port of Rotterdam.

For the presentations from the event, please click here.

For the agenda, please click here.