Two interesting decisions from the European Commission.

First, it has proposed a draft Regulation clarifying who will be the “shipping company” for the purposes of the Emissions Trading Scheme which applies to shipping as from 1 January 2024. Although many ship managers or demise charterers would meet the definition of a “shipping company” in other contexts, such as the MRV regulation, under the ETS Member States should ensure that such shipping company has been duly mandated by the registered shipowner. The draft regulation specifies the documentary proof of this that must be provided the relevant Administering Authority, failing which the shipowner shall be considered as the entity responsible for ETS obligations. By 1 February 2024, a list of the Administering Authorities where shipping companies are registered will be published by the European Commission. Based on that list, the shipping company should apply to the registry and submit the required documents and applicable fees.

Second, it has decided not to extend the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation which will expire on 25 April 2024. The Commission’s press release of 10 October 2023 states:

“Given the small number and profile of consortia falling within the scope of the CBER, the CBER brings limited compliance cost savings to carriers and plays a secondary role in carriers’ decision to cooperate. Furthermore, over the evaluation period, the CBER was no longer enabling smaller carriers to cooperate among each other and offer alternative services in competition with larger carriers.

Based on the feedback received, the Commission has decided not to extend the CBER and to let it expire on 25 April 2024. The expiry of the CBER does not mean that cooperation between shipping lines becomes unlawful under EU antitrust rules. Instead, carriers operating to or from the EU will assess the compatibility of their co-operation agreements with EU antitrust rules based on the extensive guidance provided in the Horizontal Block Exemption Regulation and Specialisation Block Exemption Regulation.”

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Professor Simon Baughen

Professor Simon Baughen was appointed as Professor of Shipping Law in September 2013 (previously Reader at the University of Bristol Law School). Simon Baughen studied law at Oxford and practised in maritime law for several years before joining academia. His research interests lie mainly in the field of shipping law, but also include the law of trusts and the environmental law implications of the activities of multinational corporations in the developing world. Simon's book on Shipping Law, has run to seven editions (soon to be eight) and is already well-known to academics and students alike as by far the most learned and approachable work on the subject. Furthermore, he is now the author of the very well-established practitioner's work Summerskill on Laytime. He has an extensive list of publications to his name, including International Trade and the Protection of the Environment, and Human Rights and Corporate Wrongs - Closing the Governance Gap. He has also written and taught extensively on commercial law, trusts and environmental law. Simon is a member of the Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law, a University Research Centre within the School of Law, and he currently teaches at Swansea on the LLM in:Carriage of Goods by Sea, Land and Air; Charterparties Law and Practice; International Corporate Governance.

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