Hong Kong Issues Block Exemption for Liner VSAs

Hong Kong has granted a block exemption order (BEO) for vessel sharing agreements (VSAs) in the liner shipping industry.

The country’s competition commission issued the order on August 8 in response to an application received from the Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association (HKLSA) in December 2015.

In its application, HKLSA asked for a block exemption order covering both VSAs and voluntary discussion agreements (VDAs).

Although Hong Kong allowed container companies to take part in vessel sharing deals, the country’s competition commission decided to turn down HKLSA’s bid to allow discussions groups.

The order, which has a duration of five year, would be reviewed by the commission four years from its commencement date, or at any time it considers appropriate.

Additionally, the commission said it will apply transitional arrangements, in the form of a grace period of six months which will end on February 8, 2018, for parties to any VSAs which do not benefit from the order, and VDAs, so as to allow such parties to make any changes they may consider necessary to their commercial arrangements.

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