European Commission to repeal antitrust legislation

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 1 October 2004



(2004), "European Commission to repeal antitrust legislation", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 53 No. 7.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

European Commission to repeal antitrust legislation

The Freight Transport Association says it is greatly encouraged by the European Commission’s proposal to repeal the long and hotly disputed regulation that has given all shipping lines in the deep sea container trade, either entering or exiting European ports, immunity from the normal rules and regulations of competition law.

These shipping lines operate in groups, a.k.a. conferences, and between them fix rates and manage the capacity available to their customers.

European Council Regulation 4056 of 1986 provides an exemption from competition rules that has artificially raised the price of shipping containers around the world for European businesses.

The European Commission said late last week that “the conditions for an exemption [to competition rules granted within Article 81(3) of the Treaty of Rome] would appear to be no longer fulfilled … On that basis, the Commission services would propose to repeal their present block exemption for liner shipping conferences.”

The Commission has consulted with member states and is now expected to produce a white paper indicating the repeal of Regulation 4056/86 that has applied the competition Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty of Rome to maritime transport.

FTA’s manager of campaigns and former secretary general of the European Shippers’ Council, Chris Welsh said, “FTA has been calling on the Commission to make a decision on these regulations for over ten years and has taken this issue through the European courts over what shippers saw as its unlawful application.”

He added that FTA and its partners in Europe, the USA, Far East and elsewhere around the world, have pressed the Commission for the repeal of Regulation 4056 on countless occasions at public events at home and abroad.

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