Freight News, Sea

Consortia block exemption to stay for another five years

[ March 24, 2020   //   ]

The European Commission published a final regulation extending the EU liner consortia block exemption regulation (BER) until 25 April 2024, without modification. It will allow shipping lines in consortia to continue to operate vessel sharing arrangements that have a market share up to 30%.

In its Staff Working Document published last autumn, the Commission found that consortia allow their members to pool their vessels together and provide services or frequencies that carriers would not be able to provide on their own and that cost efficiencies have been passed on to customers. Quality of services has not deteriorated but has remained stable since 2014.

The World Shipping Council (WSC) welcomed the move, saying: “The liner shipping industry has maintained support for the BER because it creates legal certainty for the use of vessel sharing agreements, which are essential operating tools used by carriers to provide customers with better services at lower cost and with improved environmental performance

WSC president and chief executive John Butler added: “Vessel sharing is the backbone of the global liner shipping network, and we should not underestimate the value of this tool for smaller carriers and lower volume trade lanes where demand might not otherwise support as many competitors.”