Freight News, Sea

Liner block exemption – Global Shippers react

[ March 30, 2020   //   ]

The Global Shippers Forum (GSF)has criticised the European Commission’s decision to extent the EU liner consortia block exemption regulation (BER) until 25 April 2024, but said now was not the right time to mounct a challenge. It said: “After conducting an intensive and well-evidenced campaign against the CBER, GSF is disappointed and frustrated by this decision. But GSF also recognises the pressing need for global supply chains to be kept functioning under the current extreme conditions created by the COVID-19 virus. With the current block exemption expiring on 25 April, this decision will provide the needed continuity for shipping consortia to operate in the short-term.”

However, the Commission’s decision to extend CBER for a full four years without any new conditions had come as a surprise. The decision failed to acknowledge or take any account of the case made by shippers and other groups that challenged the Commission’s reasoning and “it seems users’ views and needs have been utterly ignored and not considered in reaching this decision. In time, GSF will expect and demand an explanation of its actions from the Commission.”

GSF secretary general, James Hookham, said: “With global shippers focussed on keeping the world trading as best they can, the unqualified extension of the CBER until 2024 will be a surprise. But now is not the time to challenge this. Everyone in the global supply chain has a bigger job to do in getting the world through the current extraordinary conditions. However, GSF gives notice it considers this is as ‘unfinished business’ and it will be revisited once the industry recovers”.