Hong Kong extends liner industry block exemption

The Competition Commission said the terms of the block exemption set in 2017 will now remain in effect until August 8, 2026.

The original order was due to expire on August 8 this year and over the past year the commission has conducted a review of the block exemption.

“The Commission has come to the conclusion that the relevant activities of the VSAs continue to meet the requirements of the effectiveness exclusion,” the Commission said.

While the initial order was for five years, an extension was only granted for four years. “This is in light of the continued impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on existing market conditions which warrants a review of the order within a shorter timeframe,” the Commission said.

Record increases in container freight rates and delays in shipments have placed the liner shipping industry under scrutiny with accusations from shippers of excessive profiteering and monopolistic industry actions.

The Hong Kong Competition Commission will begin its next review of the order in three years.