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Tramp shipping pools under the scope of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

Merikas, S. (2017) Tramp shipping pools under the scope of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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For almost fifty years (1957-2006), the application of competition rules vis-a-vis tramp maritime services was paradoxical. Following a legal limbo rooted in the Treaty of Rome and in Regulation 4056/86/ tramp maritime services were excluded from the scope of regulations implementing competition law provisions, and the European Commission was deprived of applying competition rules to the sector. Regulation 1419/20062 terminated the discrepancy, but raised concerns in relation to the treatment of the principal form of cooperation between tramp operators, i.e. the tramp shipping pool, because of its horizontal nature, its price fixing element, and the commonly provisions included therein. The aim of this thesis is to assess the compatibility of a typical tramp shipping pool agreement under the scope of Article 101 TFEU. As a general preposition, any agreement between competitors containing a price fixing element represents a blatant violation of Article 101 TFEU, giving rise to serious antitrust concerns. Nevertheless, as will be argued in this thesis, in the light of the Groupement des cartes bancaires (CB) v Commission3 case, a typical tramp shipping pool does not constitute an infringement of competition by object, but according to its centre of gravity doctrine it should be regarded as a joint production agreement where the price fixing is a required element of the services jointly provided. However, based on the market power of a pool under investigation it may be found restrictive to competition by effect. A grading scale of market share caps will be provided. which may serve as a shield of protection for shipping pools along with the efficiencies generated by them. An improved understanding of a proper assessment of a pooling agreement will be beneficial not only for the tramp operators when they draft and self-assess their pooling agreements, but would be equally important to the authorities in the case where an allegation against a pool is submitted.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Kokkoris, I., Glinavos, I. and Caro de Sousa, P.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Humanities
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Law
ID Code:78144

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