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.”