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MEPs Vote To Free Up Competition In Freight Shipping

by Ulrika Lomas, for LawAndTax-News.com, Brussels

07 July 2006


It emerged this week that MEPs have adopted a report by 534 votes in favour to 89 against (with 16 abstentions), supporting Commission proposals to end an exemption to the normal competition rules for freight shipping services.

However, the approval was subject to certain conditions, notably the establishment of EU guidelines to ensure legal certainty for the sector.

The Commission is proposing to repeal legislation from 1986 which allows scheduled shipping operators to operate “conferences” which fix freight charges and manage vessel capacities, arguing that the industry no longer needs this type of protection, and that it does not encourage cost-saving.

In a report drawn up by Corien Wortmann-Kool (EPP-ED, NL), MEPs give their backing to the repeal, but insist that before the old system is entirely phased out, the Commission should first put in place guidelines on what sorts of cooperation between shipping operators is allowed, to ensure there is legal certainty for all involved.


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