Maritime mergers: ESC wants EC to be more proactive

European Shippers’ Council advocates a change of the European legislation to enable the European Commission to take a more proactive stance for protecting the EU market against monopolist tendencies. The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) rejects for legal reasons a planned merger aiming at a joint container shipping service between Japan’s three big carriers. ESC considers it as a positive move that FMC proactively takes this step.

In the EU, Directorate General for Competition (DG COMP) normally has to wait to react until a negative impact on the market can be proved. If the legislation allows the EC to be more proactive, a precondition to apply this role properly would be, according to the Global Shippers’ Forum and ESC, sharing detailed information with stakeholders (for instance, shippers).  This would open up the opportunity for shippers and other market partners to comment on possible implications of the concentration in the market.

Last but not least, maritime collaboration should be judged against the same criteria as mergers in the other areas than maritime field. ESC and GSF do not see any important reason to distinguish between the maritime mergers and mergers in the other sectors.