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Sunday, Aug 14, 2022

Competition Commission renews block exemption for liner shipping

Competition Commission renews block exemption for liner shipping

The block exemption order for vessel sharing agreements between liner shipping companies has been renewed for a further four years, the Competition Commission announced on Thursday.
The antitrust watchdog said the order will now remain in place for another four years, on the same substantive terms as originally set out in 2017, until 8 August 2026.

In a statement, the Commission said it has conducted a review of the order over the past year, which comprised an initial consultation, engagement with stakeholders and counterpart competition agencies, as well as collection of data and market intelligence from an independent industry expert.

“The Commission has come to the conclusion that the relevant activities of the vessel sharing agreements continue to meet the requirements of the efficiency exclusion. It also considers the continuation of the order to be merited and effective,” it wrote.

Vessel sharing agreements (VSA) are agreements between shipping lines covering cargo slots on each other’s vessels and coordination of sailing timetables. The competition watchdog first issued the exemption order in August 2017 when it assessed that VSAs enhanced economic efficiency. The order exempts shipping companies from the First Conduct Rule in the Competition Ordinance which outlaws VSAs, but with strict conditions.

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