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After the trials and tribulations of both carriers and shippers since the start of 2020, followed by the record breaking financial performance soon after, the role and limitations of the current liner shipping regulatory environment has come under increasing scrutiny.

Now, in preparation of the next review of the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation, scheduled for April 2024, The European Union has now launched a call for evidence inviting feedback on the performance of the EU legal framework which exempts liner shipping consortia from EU antitrust rules (Consortia Block Exemption Regulation or ‘CBER’).

With shippers having made their case, often publicly, against the market control the large carriers enjoy. This round of review could prove crucial following the latest renewal in 2020, which indicated that the European Commission still believed the CBER to be “fit for purpose”, despite significant evolution in the market following its initial introduction. 

With a significant proportion of the world’s TEU capacity along major trade lanes being in the hands of a few major carriers. The question regarding the power of the carriers is a pertinent one, and no doubt this process towards a potential renewal of the CBER will yield some interesting results.

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