Liner shipping consortia BER to prevail until 2024
The European Commission has decided to prolong the current liner consortia block exemption regulation (BER) until 2024. It was originally adopted in 2009, prolonged in 2014 for five years, and was due to expire on 25 April 2020.
This regulation outlines the conditions under which liner shipping consortia can provide joint services without infringing EU antitrust rules that prohibit anticompetitive agreements between companies. More specifically, liner shipping consortia are agreements between shipping companies to operate joint liner shipping services and engage in certain types of operational cooperation leading to economies of scale and a better utilisation of the space on vessels.
EU law generally bans agreements between companies that restrict competition. However, the consortia block exemption regulation allows, under certain conditions, liner shipping operators with a combined market share of below 30% to enter into cooperation agreements to provide joint liner shipping services (known as "consortia"). These agreements, however, cannot include price-fixing or market-sharing. (mw)