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PR(09)97: Antitrust : The EFTA Surveillance Authority adopts Guidelines on the application of competition rules to maritime transport services


The EFTA Surveillance Authority has adopted today Guidelines on the application to maritime transport services of European Economic Area rules on restrictive business practices (Article 53 of the EEA Agreement).

These services were directly affected by the changes brought about by the incorporation into the EEA Agreement of Council Regulation (EC) No 1419/2006. This Regulation repealed the exemption from the EU/EEA competition rules under which liner shipping operators were allowed to organise themselves into so-called "conferences" with the aim of fixing prices and coordinating capacity for the transport of containerised cargo.  Since October 2008, liner companies have to assess themselves whether their business practices comply with the competition rules. The Guidelines will help maritime operators understand the implications of this change, and provide details on market definition, information exchange in liner shipping and on operational co-operation agreements between tramp operators (i.e. unscheduled maritime transport of non-containerised bulk cargo), so-called pool agreements.

The new Guidelines complement the guidance already issued by the Authority in other notices.

The Competition Guidelines on Maritime Transport Services are available here

For further information, please contact:

Ms Katharina Kraak
Competition and State Aid Directorate
Tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 13


Brussels, 16 December 2009


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