FIDI and partners welcome removal of EU container shipping alliance exemption

FIDI has thanked its moving industry and supply chain allies for their collaborative efforts, following the European Commission’s announcement (on 10 October 2023) that it won’t renew the shipping container sector’s exemption from operating shipping alliances, after current legislation expires on April 25, 2024.

FIDI had partnered with other associations representing international and European businesses – including cargo owners and forwarders, port terminal operators, and other parts of the supply chain using container shipping – to call on the EC to review competition regulations governing this sector (see FIDI Focus article, July 2022).

This included a letter to the EC issued in July of last year, co-signed by the International Association of Movers (IAM) and FIDI as representatives for other moving and relocation associations OMNI, LACMA, and PAIMA together with the Federation of Freight Forwarders Association (FIATA), International Union for Road-Rail Combined Transport (UIRR), European Tugowners Association (ETA), Global Shippers Forum, European Barge Union (EBU), European Shippers’ Council (ESC), FEPORT, and the European Association for Forwarding, Transport, Logistics and Customs Services (CLECAT). The letter demanded a review of the European Union’s Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER) for the container shipping industry, which has been in place since 2009.

The CBER exempts container shipping lines from many of the EU’s competition law checks, allowing them to exchange commercially sensitive information to manage the number and size of ships deployed, and the frequency and timing of sailings around the world.

The EC said in a press release: ‘Overall, the CBER does not appear to be fit for its purpose any more, as it does not fulfil the criteria of effectiveness, efficiency and EU added value.’ Linear shipping alliances involving European business will now be governed by the EC’s general competition rules for horizontal cooperation between companies. 

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