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The EU’s withdrawal of the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER) for liner shipping will strengthen rather than weaken existing carrier alliances, with OCEAN and THE Alliance members now less likely to break up their current cooperation before the expiry of the current agreements in 2027.

Carriers were able to reverse the decline in freight rates with the SCFI registering its first weekly rise since early August. Lower capacity availability due to Golden Week holiday blanked sailings helped carriers raise rates on most of the secondary long haul routes to the Australia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, with the US West Coast also enjoying a mini rebound although rates to Europe continued to slip. However, the belated increase in the number of blank sailings from Asia to North Europe has raised the carriers’ chances of securing at least part of the rate hikes planned on that route in November.

Global Port Congestion Monitor At a Glance
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Impact of CBER expiry on the liner shipping market overplayed
The impact of the EU Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER) expiry on 25 April 2024 on the liner shipping market has been overplayed by the carriers and their detractors. Of the 43 consortia that operate in the European Union in 2020, only 13 actually qualify for the block exemption while the remaining consortia exceeds the 30% market share ceiling including each of the 3 global alliances (2M, OCEAN Alliance and THE Alliance). The removal of the CBER will not impact existing alliance arrangements, and carriers that operate in consortia arrangements outside the CBER will still be required to self-assess for compatibility of their agreements with EU antitrust rules.

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