Release Date: 07 June 2006
Release ID: 460
The ESC has today condemned the European Liner Affairs Association (ELAA) for its refusal to provide the European Shippers’ Council with the details of their proposals for an exchange of information system to replace the liner conference system following the proposed repeal of the liner conference block exemption regulation.
ELAA has briefed the European Commission of its replacement plans and is approaching and meeting individual shippers directly in regard to its future plans.
Nicolette van der Jagt, Secretary General of the ESC said: “We have been very excited about starting a dialogue with the ELAA about the future of the liner shipping industry once the conference system is abandoned and to work together on a shared agenda. But we have told the ELAA that we will not agree with anything that is seeking to replace the current conference system with the establishment of information exchanges that seeks to evaluate information on carrier costs, volumes and market shares.”
“We have told the lines that the future is about service performance and not liner shipping regulation or structures that seek to replace the conference structures with new and possibly even more powerful ones. As a consequence of ESC's position, the ELAA is seeking support from individual shippers. Our concern is that the ELAA will not present to these individual shippers the whole story and hide their real intentions of creating global discussion agreements whereby the lines can continue to manage and manipulate the market."
She added: "By refusing to release to the ESC the carrier group's latest scheme to deal with a replacement plan for the liner conference block exemption regulation to the ESC, ELAA is merely attempting to limit the public's scrutiny while advancing its own vision of liner shipping control over market forces for the so-called 'benefit of the customer.'
"Since the start of the review process the ESC has been working continuously with the European Commission - to represent the interests of more than 100,000 companies throughout Europe generating somewhere in the region of 90 per cent of the EU's international maritime traffic.”
"Shippers are well advised to treat ELAA's questionnaire with extreme caution, to get the full facts about their proposals, and to be aware of the motives behind their initiative."
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