The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) states that container line alliances threaten fair competition. They propose to the European Commission that it consider not renewing the rule of exemption of the consortiums as of April 2020 in its report during its international transport forum.
See article on The Concentration of Partnerships of containerized lines
The containerized transport, according to the report, does not have unique characteristics that justify the exemptions of the competition law for consortiums or alliances of container lines. In line with the long-term global trend to dismantle sector-specific exemptions from competition law and in line with OECD regulatory principles, generic antitrust rules should apply to all agreements between shipping lines, as in any other industry, with respect to the cooperation that is allowed. The countries where the “conferences” are still allowed should reconsider their position. ”
According to the Forum, it is unlikely that a “repeal of the exemptions from competition law will not lead to the termination of current and future alliances, as these could be authorized under the competition law on a case-by-case basis. greater scrutiny of individual alliances and, therefore, would more effectively discourage any anticompetitive behavior in the sector. ”
The European Commission, say the authors, “could provide temporary guidelines on how to treat maritime transport of containerized lines in the EU antitrust law.” If the exemption from competition law is extended, its scope should be limited, particularly through the introduction of a provision to consult the parties interested in maritime transport and the exclusion of joint purchases by alliances “.
They should also consider including issues of cooperation in matters of education, safety, and the environment since they involve the lines and the common good with is found under the competence but cooperation.