HAPAG-LLOYD SAYS EC DOMINATES SHIPPING POLICY IN EUROPE
The European Commission has come to “dominate” shipping policy in Europe, said Gunther Casjens, chief executive officer of Hapag-Lloyd Container Line.
Shipping lines frequently have to talk to their national governments in the European Union and to the EC as part of a “dual-track approach,” Casjens said. But “Brussels has now clearly dominated for a long time.”
Commenting on the EC, Casjens said that the Trans-Atlantic Conference Agreement decision of September 1998, which included large fines on transatlantic carriers, “showed shipping lines the attitude Brussels takes to shipping.”
The penalties of 273 euros ($300 million) on TACA shipping lines was the “highest fine ever set” by the EC.
The fines were appealed by TACA carriers and now await court proceedings.
“The (TACA) decision, which was very controversial, shows how necessary it is promptly to clear laws and regulations that are internationally standard and do not conflict in some respects, as is the case in the EU and the U.S.A. at present,” Casjens added.
Casjens also criticized the “numerous changes of course” in Germany’s shipping policy. It is now difficult for the company to identify the right government officials, as responsibilities are being moved from Bonn to Berlin or Brussels, the German carrier said.