Many carrier’s will undoubtedly be disappointed to receive this week’s news that the European Commission will NOT be renewing the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER), which enables them to operate freely as alliances.

The current CBER legislation expires next year on April 25th, after being introduced in 2009 and extended in both 2014 and 2020. CBER followed the break up of the old conference system, which was effectively considered to break monopoly rules.

The European Commision has been reviewing the regulations since 2020 and its report suggested that they feel CEBR it is not fit for its purpose anymore. It also stated that its effectiveness had been ‘limited’ during the wild rate swings, up and down, in the period that has followed the pandemic.

It is unclear where this will leave carrier alliances, although we currently understand vessel sharing will not be considered illegal. However, this could accelerate the 2M Alliance split between Maersk and MSC, which is currently scheduled to end in 2025.

Demand in many markets continues to be low and following the European Commission’s announcement we appear to be entering an uncertain period for steamship lines. Westbound are monitoring the situation with great interest, to see how the next few months unfold.

If you have any questions regarding the above, then Westbound are here to help. So, please do not hesitate to contact us.