The Global Shippers Forum (GSF), the voice of shippers importing and exporting goods around the world, using all modes of transport, has called upon the European Commission to revoke and replace the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (BER). The European Commission is currently determining whether to extend the BER for a further five-year period from April 2020.
James Hookham, GSF Secretary General, commented: “GSF has joined the worldwide shipping community in calling for the European Commission to not renew the BER. GSF has recommended these special privileges should come to end and the liner shipping industry should begin the transition to normal competition conditions. There is, potentially, scope for the existing legal instruments to be replaced by modified or augmented arrangements, but only where the impact of this transition could cause unnecessary disruptions. The parameters of any replacement regime should be discussed and consulted upon by the Commission with the representatives of the stakeholders, which would have the additional benefit of engendering a much-needed consensus on the future of a vital industry.”
The BER allows shipping lines with a combined market share of below 30% to enter into cooperation agreements or to provide joint cargo transport services, justified in the basis that this would facilitate improvements in productivity and service levels.