A competitive liner shipping sector is vital for global transport. This industry has had a very atypical history in terms of the application of competition law. Since the industry’s inception in the 19th century late, liner shipping conferences, whereby liner shipping companies fix prices and other conditions on a given route, have been a common practice and for a long time these agreements were exempted from antitrust laws.
However, in the past few decades, the sector has experienced important structural changes and several jurisdictions have undergone regulatory reforms. These have led to a re-organisation of the sector towards greater reliance on consortia and other alliances between carriers, i.e., forms of cooperation at the operational level which do not involve fixing freight rates.
In June 2015, delegates discussed these important developments in the application of competition law to liner shipping. See all related documents below.
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Secretariat Background note [French]
Executive summary with key findings [French]
Detailed summary of discussion [French]
Recommendation concerning Structural Separation in Regulated Industries (2001)
Competition Policy in Liner Shipping (2002)
Access to Key Transport Facilities (2006)
Competition in Ports and Port Services (2011)
Recent Developments in Rail Transportation Services (2013)
Pro-competitive Policy Reforms
Liberalisation and competition intervention in regulated sectors
All Competition Policy Roundtables