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BIFA Supports Container Shipping Rule Recommendation

BIFA has expressed its satisfaction with the recent decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to allow the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER) to lapse when it expires on 25 April 2024.

UK freight forwarders welcome the news that the CBER should be allowed to lapse.

This move, which is in line with the European Commission's position on the matter, will increase scrutiny of shipping line consortia and alliances and ensure that they are fully subject to competition law.

BIFA had previously expressed concerns that shipping line practices and exemptions were distorting the free market and harming international trade, businesses, and consumers. The association believes that there should be a balance between the interests of shipping lines as carriers and those of BIFA's members as customers.

The CMA's provisional recommendation is a step in the right direction, as it will allow for ongoing scrutiny of shipping line consortia and alliances.

However, BIFA notes that the CMA's review is a two-stage process, and further feedback is being sought until December 15th. BIFA is prepared to provide further argument in support of the decision to let it lapse.

“There is no room for complacency. The shipping lines have hit out against the EC judgement and we understand that they have been lobbying in London for the UK to retain some form of CBER.” Steve Parker, Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA)

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