10 September 2021


On 7 September, senior government officials from the EU, the US and China participated in the Fifth Global Maritime Regulatory Summit. Participants included representatives from DG COMP for the EU, the Federal Maritime Commission for the United States and the Ministry of Transportation for China.

The Summit was the opportunity to discuss sectoral developments since the start of the COVID-pandemic including an analysis of supply and demand and an identification of bottlenecks in the ocean-linked supply chain and the causes of service disruptions. Officials exchanged on initiatives undertaken at regional level and the way forward to increase resilience in the maritime logistics supply chains.

The European Delegation was led by Henrik Mørch, the Director for Transport, Post, and Other Services, Directorate General for Competition. The Chinese delegation was led by Li Tianbi, Director General of the Water Transport Bureau, Ministry of Transportation, People’s Republic of China. Commissioners Rebecca F. Dye, Michael A. Khouri, and Carl W. Bentzel also attended the Summit on behalf of the FMC.

The FMC press release issued after the meeting noted: “The performance of ocean carriers in meeting historic demand for their services and the unusually high costs to move ocean containers are of interest and concern to regulators, legislators, and the public globally. Today’s session of the Global Regulatory Summit provided key competition authorities responsible for the oversight of the container shipping industry the opportunity to share information about what their respective monitoring and enforcement regimes are observing in the marketplace and compare conclusions about carrier behaviour.”

The Summit takes place every two years and is a forum to foster cooperation between the three authorities. The next Summit will be convened in 2023 in China.

CLECAT welcomes the European Commission’s exchanges with competition and maritime authorities outside of the EU and hopes to receive further detail on the results of the meeting. CLECAT repeats that it hopes that efforts on the practices in the container shipping industry which affect entire supply chains in and outside of the EU will be intensified. Unfortunately, the European Commission has so far taken a ‘wait and see’ attitude. CLECAT is of the view that the COVID situation cannot serve as an excuse for inaction at a period of time when disruption and structural problems in the container sector cause harm to so many parties in the supply chain.

Source: European Commission, FMC