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EU Investigating Ocean Carrier Pricing

EU Investigating Ocean Carrier Pricing
The European Union is launching an investigation into whether the largest container lines have engaged in price-fixing, according to the Wall Street Journal.

EU Investigating Ocean Carrier Pricing

The European Union is launching an investigation into whether the largest container lines have engaged in price-fixing, according to the Wall Street Journal. The investigation by the EU's Competition Directorate parallels a similar fact-finding investigation the Federal Maritime Commission launched in May.

The two investigations came as major container lines increased their freight rates on major east-west trade lanes even as the supply of new ships entering the market grew, which would usually increase the competition for cargo and hence produce lower rates.

The shipping lines, including industry leader AP Moeller-Maersk, deny they are operating a cartel, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The FMC in the U.S., where carriers enjoy broad antitrust immunity, has opened a "fact finding" investigation into shipping rates. It is due to submit an interim report on June 15 and a final report on July 31.

The agency's mission is to make sure that collaboration between shipping lines does "not result in unreasonable increases in transportation costs or decreases in transportation services," said FMC commissioner Michael Khouri.

In Europe, regulators are "actively monitoring" the situation, EU spokeswoman Amelia Torres told the Wall Street Journal. She declined to elaborate.

www.turkishmaritime.com.tr

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