03. December 2019

EU recommends renewal of „Consortia Block Exemption Regulation“ (CBER)

Container lines are at a huge advantage in competition law that allows them to control the number of sailings on routes between international sea ports. By “pooling” of vessel capacities one shipping line in a consortium will be allocated bookings made with any of the consortium’s partners on that particular route. The agreement between partners in a Consortium needs not to be published. The CBER has been agreed on for four years and is now up for renewal. Currently, market participants are invited to spell out their concerns and arguments in response to the EU’s recommendation.

Shippers have already added their voice, stating that the CBER will not strengthen competition between shipping lines and that over the years the service has deteriorated. The main reason for the exemption that should have brought advantages to customers is no longer existent as neither service nor productivity have improved since the introduction of the exemption. Instead, the market situation has become increasingly imbalanced since shipping lines started operating in consortia. At the same time there are complaints that the shipping industry sector shall be protected for a longer period of time despite enormous over-capacities. The EU now has to evaluate the response from the market up until the 3rd of January and decide whether the CBER is to be renewed or not.  

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