The European Commission has announced that it will not extend the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER) beyond April 2024. The CBER allowed container carriers to enjoy more lenient competition rules compared to the common EU legislation. GSA welcomes this decision, which shippers have been fighting for over the past eight years alongside other stakeholders. GSA has always argued that the CBER favored unnecessary competition restrictions, causing poor service levels for shippers.
The Commission explained its recent decision by stating that the CBER did not deliver efficient services, which are the basis for such protection, especially during the two years of the COVID crisis. GSA is satisfied that vessel-sharing agreements will still be possible, but they must comply with the common EU law governing horizontal cooperation. This will ensure some flexibility for capacity adjustment through collaboration, which is sometimes necessary in the market.
This decision opens up new opportunities for the evolution of practices and legislation in Europe and worldwide, following the recently enacted legislation in the US and the additional powers given to the Federal Maritime Commission to prevent abuses in maritime container transport. GSA is open to dialogue with all private and public stakeholders to facilitate this evolution in the interest of all parties.
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