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Press Release Tripartite Shippers Meeting

Shippers’ representatives from Asia, Europe and North America agreed last week that continued pro-active dialogue with the liner shipping industry was essential if shipping services were to be improved in a post-conference world.

The group, representing the transport interests of the majority of the world’s manufacturing and retail businesses, were meeting in Brussels to review progress on the elimination of the exemption for liner shipping for international trade to and from Europe. All agreed that it was imperative for dialogue between shippers, shipping lines, port and terminal operators and freight forwarders (also known as Non Vessel Operating Common Carriers or NVOCCs) to take on the major issues that confront industry today and in the coming years ahead: issues such a security legislation in transport, supply chain congestion, and the ever present need to find efficiencies in the logistics and supply chains in order to drive out costs and deliver sustainable transport services for the future.

Peter Gatti, Executive Vice President of the US National Industrial Transportation League said “This one subject--the removal of legislation that sanctions cartels in the liner shipping industry-- is one of the most important issues for international trade logistics, not just in Europe, but around the globe. A market driven environment that is not compromised by pricing agreements among the carriers that belong to conferences has long been the desire and goal of shippers in every region of the world. The review of the liner exemption authority presents an extraordinary opportunity to achieve competitive and efficient services through true economic partnerships between individual suppliers and customers. European authorities and industry representatives must work together now to make this happen and set an example for how this can result elsewhere.”

Nicolette van der Jagt, Secretary General of the European Shippers’ Council pointed out that “shippers and their representatives have engaged with service providers in the air freight, road freight, rail freight and sea freight sectors on initiatives to tackle problems of the day and improve performance. This must continue. Clearly there are those in the liner shipping community that do not like what we are doing and will try and accuse us of refusing to talk about the future; but the future is about service performance and not liner shipping regulation or structures that seek to replace the conference structures with new ones.”

John Y Lu, of the Asian Shippers’ Council enthused over what he described as “the courage to take on the shipping conferences”. Mr Lu said “Many Asian shippers have very little protection from the liner conference monopolies. Removing the conferences will help re-establish a better balance that will prevent our governments from going down a regulatory approach to controlling the practices of liner shipping, and foster a new era of dialogue between shippers and shipping lines that will address the major performance issues facing Asian shippers and their trading partners in Europe and elsewhere.”

Ms van der Jagt concluded: “We are all very excited, however, about the future, with constructive dialogue between shippers’ organisations like the ESC and the carriers’ representatives that also have similar agenda to improve performance and working together.

We all believe that further regulatory changes will be proposed in other regions once the EU has taken the first step, in much the same way as the United States updated the 1984 Shipping Act with the Ocean Shipping Reform Act in 1998. That action spurred other countries and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to begin a review of the principles and polices governing this industry sector.”

Competition and efficiency will be increased by removing the liner shipping conference system, and allow the lines the freedom to innovate and compete on service, giving their customers the best services required to keep EU industry in the EU, competitive in overseas and European markets.”

Notes to Editors

Nicolette van der Jagt: Secretary General (Dtel) 003222302113
(Mob) 0032497484570

This statement is supported by the Shippers’ Tripartite Group representing shippers from the three major trading areas of the world: Asia, Europe, and North America including the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL); the Canadian Industrial Transportation Association (CITA); the European Shippers’ Council (ESC); the Japan Shippers’ Council and the Asian Shippers’ Council.

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