European Parliament vote frustrates ESC
The European Parliament Thursday voted in favor of the report of Greek Rapporteur Rodi Kratsa, which doubts the advantages of changing the existing liner conference system.
In October 2004, the European Commission issued a white paper concluding that the exemption for liner conferences should be abolished. A recent independent study by Global Insight found that repealing the current exemption for liner conferences is likely to lead to a decline in transport prices and will have either no impact or a positive impact on the competitiveness of European liner shipping firms. The report also said that the European Liner Affairs Association’s (ELAA) alternative information exchange system “should not be accepted “as is.”
The European Shippers’ Council said it “is frustrated but not surprised by the results of the vote.” Nicolette van der Jagt, secretary general of the ESC, said shortly after the vote, “Parliament in effect calls upon the commission to regulate prices in liner shipping. We do not believe that it is their task to do so, it is for the market to determine.”
“The rapporteur has suggested that the Global Insight study does not provide a solid basis for repeal. Given that both sides of industry have stated that the work was serious, it is surprising to see an amendment adopted pointing to supposed shortcomings but without any detail,” van der Jagt added.
“All the positive signs that there may be some prospect to engage in a constructive dialogue with the liner shipping carriers will be jeopardized if the legal framework as suggested by the European Parliament would become reality. Shippers would find this unacceptable. This would be a retrograde step and will harms the signs of optimism that have been promoted,” van der Jagt said.
The ELAA is working on a revised package to put forward to the EC any time soon. The final proposal from the EC is expected before the end of the year.