Brussels, 29th November 2019

The European Tugowners Association expresses its regret that the European Commission proposal has decided to prolong the current Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (BER), which is due to expire on 25 April 2020, by four years, without taking into consideration the concerns of the maritime sector.

The BER has and can have an impact on the towage industry. BER has permitted shipping lines to increase enormously its bargaining power and therefore, to impose its conditions on ports and port services providers, fostering the sector┬┤s concentration and a reduction of tariffs that not all towage companies can resist. Thus, we call for a review of the BER that would guarantee a more balanced relationship between shipping lines, ports and service providers and increase transparency. ETA is not against the BER, however the association advocated that this regulation needed to reflect the current state of play of the industry since the sector landscape has changed over the last decade.

ETA in its response to the public consultation late last year called for amendments to be done so as to improve the regulation. This was also the case for a number of stakeholders in the industry who demonstrated the need for updating this regulation. However, the Commission has proposed to prolong the Consortia BER without any amendments, therefore dismissing the concerns of the wider maritime community.

ETA is currently preparing a response in reply to the public consultation on the Roadmap and the draft regulation.

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