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Consultation on the evaluation of the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation

Policy field

Competition: Antitrust; maritime transport

Target group

The main stakeholders the consultation targets are the carriers, their clients (shippers and freight forwarders), port operators and their respective associations. The highest level of interest can be identified with the carriers, who apply the Consortia Regulation, followed closely by the interest of their clients, who enjoy the passed-on benefits, but are also exposed to any potential competition law issues caused by consortia.
Other interested parties whose input will be of value include industry analysts, academics, and law firms specialising in competition law and the maritime sector. The views of the competition authorities of the Member States will also be sought.

Period of consultation

From 27.09.2018 to 20.12.2018

Objective of the consultation

Liner shipping services consist of the provision of regular, scheduled maritime cargo transport on a specific route. They require significant levels of investment and therefore are regularly provided by several shipping companies cooperating in "consortia" agreements. Consortia can lead to economies of scale and better utilisation of the space of the vessels. A fair share of the benefits resulting from these efficiencies can be passed on to users of the shipping services in terms of better coverage of ports (improvement in the frequency of sailings and port calls) and better services (an improvement in scheduling, better or personalised services through the use of more modern vessels, equipment and port facilities).

Article 101(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union ("TFEU") prohibits agreements between undertakings that restrict competition. However, Article 101(3) TFEU allows declaring such agreements compatible with the internal market provided they contribute to improving the production or distribution of goods or to promoting technical or economic progress, while allowing consumers a fair share of the resulting benefits without eliminating competition.

Council Regulation 246/2009 provides that, in accordance with the provisions of Article 101(3) TFEU, the Commission may, by way of Regulation, exempt consortia agreements from the application of Article 101(1) TFEU for a period limited to five years with the possibility of prolongation. Accordingly, the Commission has adopted Regulation 906/2009 (hereafter the "Consortia Regulation"), which sets the specific conditions for the exemption of consortia agreements. These conditions notably aim at ensuring that customers enjoy a fair share of the resulting benefits. The Consortia Regulation will expire on 25 April 2020, and the proposed evaluation is scheduled to be finalized before the expiry date.

This public consultation is a part of the evaluation of the Consortia Regulation, which started in May 2018. The objective of the consultation is to collect evidence and views from stakeholders in order to assess the impact and relevance of the Consortia Regulation and provide an evidence base for determining whether it should be left to expire or prolonged (and if so, under which conditions).

Responding to the questionnaire

You can contribute to this consultation by filling in the online questionnaire.

Questionnaires are available in three official EU languages. You can submit your responses in any official EU language.

For reasons of transparency, organisations and businesses taking part in public consultations are asked to register in the EU’s Transparency Register.

  • Respond to the questionnaire: en fr de

Personal data and privacy

The European Union is committed to user privacy. When carrying out public consultations we adhere to the policy on 'protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions', based on Regulation 45/2001 on processing of personal data by the EU institutions.

Further information on the protection of your personal data

Reference documents and other, related consultations

Contact details

Responsible services:
Directorate-General for Competition – Unit F.1 – Antitrust: Transport, Post and other services
Please always indicate the reference number in your correspondence: HT. 5252

E-mail address:

Postal address:
European Commission
Directorate-General for Competition
1049 Brussels


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