The Global Shippers Forum has called on the European Commission to revoke and replace the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (BER), which allows shipping lines with a combined market share of below 30 per cent to enter into cooperation agreements or to provide joint cargo transport services.
This is justified on the basis that this would facilitate improvements in productivity and service levels.
However, the commission is currently determining whether to extend the BER for a further five-year period from April 2020.
James Hookham, GSF secretary general, said: “GSF has recommended these special privileges should come to end and the liner shipping industry should begin the transition to normal competition conditions. There is, potentially, scope for the existing legal instruments to be replaced by modified or augmented arrangements, but only where the impact of this transition could cause unnecessary disruptions. The parameters of any replacement regime should be discussed and consulted upon by the Commission with the representatives of the stakeholders, which would have the additional benefit of engendering a much-needed consensus on the future of a vital industry.”