Brussels, 19 February 2013
Antitrust: Commission decides not to prolong maritime transport antitrust guidelines
The European Commission will not prolong or renew a set of specific guidelines on the application of EU antitrust rules (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – TFEU) to maritime transport services. The current maritime guidelines will therefore expire on 26 September 2013.
In July 2008, the Commission adopted Guidelines on the application of Article 81 of the EC Treaty (now Article 101 of the TFEU) to maritime transport services (see IP/08/1063) which were to apply for a period of five years, until September 2013.
A public consultation launched in May 2012 (see IP/12/446) confirmed the Commission's preliminary view that specific antitrust guidelines in the maritime transport sector were no longer needed. The main initial purpose of these guidelines was to facilitate the transition from a specific to a general competition regime for maritime transport after the repeal in 2006 of an exemption of antitrust rules for liner conferences (i.e. agreements between liner shipping companies on prices and other conditions of carriage) (see IP/06/1249 and MEMO/06/344). This objective has now been achieved.
This lapse is in line with the Commission's general policy of phasing out sector-specific antitrust rules. Moreover, the guidelines now overlap with general antitrust guidelines, such as the guidelines on horizontal cooperation agreements (see IP/10/1702).