EU Rules Vessel Sharing For Reducing Environmental Impacts


  • Vessel sharing benefiting the EU is regulated through the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER).
  • It expires in April 2024 and is now under review by the European Commission’s DG COMP.

EU rules for vessel sharing – reducing environmental impact and increasing efficiency for global trade, reports World Shipping Council.

Consortia Block Exemption Regulation

To assist ports and customers efficiently, international ocean carriers often share space on vessels. 

Vessel sharing aiding the EU is governed through the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER), which expires in April 2024. Hence it is now under review by the European Commission’s DG COMP. 

The World Shipping Council (WSC), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), and the Asian Shipowners’ Association (ASA) have recommended their input to the European Commission asking for a revival of the CBER and illustrating how vessel sharing adds to the EU policy objectives of decreasing emissions, boosting competitiveness and improving efficiency to reduce costs.


EU Block Exemption Regulations for consortia have been continuously in place since 1995 but the Commission first adopted the CBER in 2009.  

It was recognized for five years and since has been extended twice following Commission examinations.

Key points

Vessel sharing is an operational norm that facilitates carriers to use ships more efficiently. Vessel sharing improves the range of destinations and services available to customers. It lessens space onboard ships and lowers emissions.  

Amid COVID-19 crisis

COVID-19 disrupted the intermodal supply chain worldwide, creating substantial bottlenecks at marine terminals, inland warehouses, distribution centers, and in the truck that connects ports with the hinterland. 

Those landside issues in turn caused back-ups of ships outside of ports, considerably decreasing the beneficial vessel capacity.


“From an operational and environmental perspective, vessel sharing is like public transport and car-pooling schemes: seeking to maximize efficiency and reduce emissions through the shared use of transport assets and infrastructure, significantly reducing emissions per unit of cargo transported,” says Yuichi Sonoda, Secretary General of Asian Shipowners Association.

“The frustration that shippers have understandably experienced from service delays and increased cost has been channeled towards carriers, their vessel sharing arrangements, and the regulatory tools which facilitate such arrangements, including the CBER. But data shows and regulators concur that the problems were caused by factors outside carriers’ control and not by vessel sharing,” says John Butler, President & CEO of World Shipping Council.

“Vessel sharing is a tool that has been recognized by regulators around the world as providing a foundation for the reliable movement of international trade. As we come out of the pandemic and markets normalize, we need common and predictable regulations across the globe to help transportation and trade networks to stabilize,” says Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping.

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Source: World Shipping Council 


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