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UK Competition and Markets Authority Recommends Container Shipping Exemption Regulation Should Lapse

Following a recent review, the Competition and Markets Authority for the UK (CMA) has announced a provisional recommendation to allow the existing Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER) to lapse after it expires in April 2024.

The CBER, which was retained in UK law following Brexit, exempts liner shipping companies from certain aspects of the Competition Act 1998. In particular, it permits carriers to act as consortia to the extent that this collaboration improves operational efficiency.

Key industry bodies such as the British International Freight Association (BIFA), however, have been concerned that the exemption has threatened international trade by allowing carriers to form a monopoly and set unfavourable terms for service users.

The CMA's statement follows the European Commission's (EC) decision not to renew the CBER in the EU and marks a U-turn from their original position. When their review of the CBER was announced in January, the CMA sought views on a modified form of CBER under UK legislation.

Find further information and updates on this decision here.

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