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Shipping Conferences under EC Antitrust Law

Criticism of a Legal Paradox

By: Luis Ortiz Blanco
Media of Shipping Conferences under EC Antitrust Law
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Published: 26-06-2007
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 696
ISBN: 9781841135274
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £275.00
Online price : £247.50
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About Shipping Conferences under EC Antitrust Law

Liner conferences are among the oldest surviving cartels in the world. Created in the 1870s they have existed since on all the world's shipping routes. With the approval or tacit acquiescence of governments everywhere, they fix freight rates, control capacity and share markets. The United Nations Code of Conduct for Liner Conferences (1974) granted them global recognition and prompted the European Community to recommend Member States to join the Convention on the Liner Code (1979) and to grant them the most generous and extraordinary block exemption from EC antitrust rules ever (1986). The European Commission's administration of the block exemption has clarified some of its aspects and, to a certain extent, limited its scope; but until very recently, it has not questioned the appropriateness of the exceptionally lenient treatment of liner shipping cartels in the European Union. After a report by the OECD Secretariat (2002) recommending abolition of antitrust immunity for shipping cartels in member countries, the European Commission launched a review of the block exemption (2003) which has led to its repeal (2006).
This book studies first the origins, the early history and the regulation of liner conferences in the world and in the European Community, focusing in particular on the Regulation which granted a block exemption to liner conferences. Then, it examines one by one the four conditions for a block exemption to be granted under EC law, and concludes that none of them is fulfilled by shipping cartels. Finally, it proposes some alternative scenarios and solutions for the adequate enforcement of antitrust law in the maritime sector once the block exemption has been repealed.

Table Of Contents

1 The Origin, Development and Regulation of Maritime Cartels
2 Council Regulation 4056/86 and the Block Exemption for Liner Conferences
3 Economic Advantages, Participation of Shippers and Indispensability of Liner Conferences
4 The Market Power of Liner Conferences
5 The Future of Liner Conferences


“…the single best book on the application of competition law to shipping that has yet been written and achieves that status by some distance…An authoritative tome such as this will be difficult to ignore.” –  Stephen Tupper, European Competition Law Review, Vol 29, Issue 2, 2008

“Cet ouvrage...constitue sans doute une des références les plus construites sur l'histoire juridique des conférences maritimes et les tenants et les aboutissants du règlement n° 4056/86” –  Revue Lamy de la Concurrence, No 13, Oct-Dec 07

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