The Asian Shipowners’ Association (ASA) emphasized its long-standing policy that competition law exemptions for consortia like the CBER are indispensable for the healthy development of the liner shipping industry and the maintenance of reliable liner services to the entire global trading community.
renewal of the CBER and demonstrating how vessel sharing contributes to the EU policy goals of reducing transport emissions, increasing competitiveness and improving efficiency to reduce costs.arlier this week, the World Shipping Council (WSC), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), and the Asian Shipowners’ Association (ASA) submitted their input to the European Commission, calling for a
Vessel sharing benefiting the EU is regulated through the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER), which expires in April 2024 and is now under review by the European Commission’s DG COMP. The CBER facilitates vessel sharing by providing a sector-specific legal framework.
The CBER have been in place since 1995 and have been extended following thorough Commission evaluations. The current CBER is set to expire on 25 April 2024.
As ASA said, when the Commission last renewed the CBER in 2020, it found that consortia agreements among ocean carriers “generally help to improve the productivity and quality of available liner shipping services by reason of the rationalisation they bring to the activities of member companies and through the economies of scale they allow in the operation of vessels and utilisation of port facilities. They also help to promote technical and economic progress by facilitating and encouraging greater utilisation of containers and more efficient use of vessel capacity.”
Taking the above into consideration, the ASA emphasised its stances regarding the consortia agreements:
- Consortia Agreements Are Indispensable to the Maintenance of Reliable Liner Services in Europe and Worldwide;
- Consortia Agreements Have Been Critical to Global Trade During the COVID19 Pandemic;
- Consortia Agreements and Extension of the CBER Are Important for the EU to Achieve its Environmental Goals;
- Extension of the CBER Would Promote Consistent International Regulatory Treatment of Consortia Agreements.
“The ASA respectfully submits that these findings with respect to consortia agreements remain just as valid today as they were in 2020,” and it therefore strongly encourages the Commission to extend the CBER without any substantive changes.
From an operational and environmental perspective, vessel sharing is like public transport and car-pooling schemes: seeking to maximise efficiency and reduce emissions through the shared use of transport assets and infrastructure, significantly reducing emissions per unit of cargo transported
the Secretary General of ASA, Yuichi Sonoda, concluded.