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Monday, December 18, 2017

European Parliament discusses competition rules as competition lawyers warn owners of the need to conduct self-assessment

At its meetings this week the European Parliament Transport Committee adopted a report by EPP-ED Rapporteur Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou concerning the revision of Regulation 4056/86 EC on maritime competition rules. This regulation currently provides a block exemption from articles 81 and 82 EC (general competition rules) for liner conferences and in effect exempts “tramp shipping” from the Commission’s implementation powers.  

The European Parliament came out rather supportive of the tramp industry, notably by urging the Commission to undertake proper impact assessments before changing its rules of implementation as far as non-liner shipping was concerned. In the area of competition policy, however, the Commission has an exclusive competence, which means that Parliament’s report will not be legally binding on the Commission. Later this year, the Commission may therefore be expected to formally propose that tramp shipping should be added to the scope of its already existing implementation powers under Regulation 1/2003. 

At a seminar organised in Oslo in parallel with the Parliament debate, leading competition lawyers strongly advised operators in the tramp shipping industry to undertake an individual, thorough examination of their cooperative agreements and market behaviour in light of the European competition rules and the increased attention being paid to the implications for shipping.  

Contact: Kristian R. Fuglesang