International authorities discuss container shipping issues

International competition authorities met this week to discuss competition issues related to the shipping industry.

Representatives from the US Federal Maritime Commissioner Chairman the European Union and the People’s Republic of China met for the fifth biennial meeting of the Global Regulatory Summit.

High on the agenda was the actions of ocean carriers amid an unprecedented container and cargo  boom that has seen freight rates explode upwards

The meeting, which is being held virtually, discussed three broad agenda items: The first topic included developments in the sector since the start of the Covid-pandemic. These included an analysis of supply and demand and an identification of bottlenecks in the ocean-linked supply chain and the causes of service disruptions.

The delegation also discussed actions undertaken so far by relevant jurisdictions and authorities.

Finally it discussed ways forward and possible actions to increase resilience and smooth operations in the sector.

FMC Chairman Maffei said that “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.

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.

Commissioner Rebecca F. Dye, who is leading the FMC’s Fact Finding 29 investigation into ocean supply chain challenges during the COVID-19 era, along with Commissioners Michael A. Khouri and Carl W. Bentzel, also attended the Summit on behalf of the FMC.

The delegations agreed to hold the next meeting of the Global Regulatory Summit in Beijing in 2023.