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Antitrust: Commission consults on future of maritime transport antitrust guidelines

The European Commission is inviting stakeholders to submit their views on the future of the guidelines on the application of the EU antitrust rules to maritime transport services. These guidelines will expire in September 2013. The Commission's competition department takes the preliminary view that specific antitrust guidelines in the maritime transport sector are no longer needed. Comments may be submitted until 27 July 2012.

The Commission's directorate general for competition has set out its preliminary assessment on the future of these guidelines in a staff working document. Their main purpose, which was to facilitate the transition from a specific to a general competition regime for maritime transport after the repeal of an exemption for liner conferences in 2006 (see IP/06/1249 and MEMO/06/344), has now been achieved, in line with the Commission's general policy of phasing out sector specific antitrust rules. Moreover, the guidelines now overlap with general antitrust guidelines, such as the guidelines on horizontal cooperation agreements (see IP/10/1702). The competition department therefore considers at this stage that specific antitrust guidelines in the maritime transport sector are no longer needed.

The Commission is seeking stakeholders' views and invites all interested parties to submit their comments on the staff working document by 27 July 2012.

The consultation is available at


On 1 July 2008, the Commission adopted the Guidelines on the application of Article 81 of the EC Treaty (now Article 101 of the TFEU) to maritime transport services (see IP/08/1063). The Guidelines were published in the Official Journal on 26 September 2008 (OJ/C/2008/245) and provide that the Commission will apply them for a period of five years. These Guidelines will therefore expire in September 2013.

Contacts :

Antoine Colombani (+32 2 297 45 13)

Marisa Gonzalez Iglesias (+32 2 295 19 25)

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