U.S. shippers have been relatively unaffected by the European Union’s 2008 decision to outlaw liner conferences, according to a two-year Federal Maritime Commission study released Thursday.
The “Study of the 2008 Repeal of the Liner Conference Exemption from European Union Competition Law” looked at changes in container rates from 2008 to 2011 in the U.S. trans-Atlantic, Asia-Europe and Asia-U.S. trade lanes.
The EU’s abolition of ocean carriers’ block exemption to competition laws took effect in 2010, spurring concerns that the change would give European shippers an competitive advantage.
The start of the inquiry happened just as the global recession set in, causing a historic plunge in carriers’ rates and profits. The changes far overshadowed any effect of changes in European competition law.