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ICS comment on European Commission decision not to renew Consortia Block Exemption for liner shipping.

11 October 2023

Following the announcement on 10 October 2023 by the European Commission (DG COMP) that it intends to let the sector-specific Consortia Block Exemption Regulation for liner shipping expire in April 2024, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which is the global trade association for shipowners and ship operators in all sectors and trades, made the following comment.

“The decision by the European Commission not to renew the EU Block Exemption for liner shipping consortia puts the EU out of step with other jurisdictions worldwide and will only add to current economic uncertainty for maritime carriers and their customers as they work to adjust to this new legal framework.

But it is significant that DG COMP has said that it continues to recognise the benefits of liner shipping consortia and vessel sharing agreements, which lead to economies of scale and better use of space on vessels with associated efficiency benefits passed on to the users of shipping services in terms of better coverage of ports and better services.

As permitted by other competition authorities worldwide, it is right that vessel sharing agreements will remain lawful in EU trades and an important and crucial method for container shipping lines to ensure efficient and sustainable maritime transport both for Europe and for the rest of the global economy.”