European Commission declared a four-year prolongation of the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER), now valid until 2024. The decision disregards a public consultation and reinforces the inequality and unfairness that is rampant in the maritime industry.
‘Shipping lines often act as if they were the only players in the maritime industry. But their market and technological choices have consequences on the rest of the maritime supply chain, including its workers’, Estelle Brentnall, Head of Maritime at the ETF, commented on the decision.
CBER regulation excludes liner shipping consortia from the EU antitrust, allowing, under certain conditions, shipping lines with a combined market share of below 30% to enter into cooperation agreements to provide joint cargo transport services.
Currently, alliances and vessel sharing agreements practices, along with vertical integration of shipping companies into container terminals have a significant impact on other parts of the industry. It has a particularly negative effect on the financial profitability of terminals and other segments of the maritime industry, such as the tug sector and feeders, and adversely affects maritime jobs.
The decision taken completely disregards the result of the public consultation, in which ETF delivered a very critical view of the way exemptions to consortia are granted and their consequences in terms of working conditions.
“We totally disagree with the prolongation of the CBER. This is clearly a political decision aimed at defending the interest of only one segment of the maritime sector. It is a missed opportunity for the European Commission to take a decision that would have rebalanced the power and fairness within the maritime industry,” added Terje Samuelsen, Chair of ETF Dockers’ Section.