Liner pricing investigation under way in Africa

Africa is the latest region to investigate liner pricing tactics. Maersk, CMA CGM and German-controlled United Africa Feeder Line are being investigated by a regional competition watchdog, the Comesa Competition Commission (CCC), for allegedly coordinating in raising freight charges

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) comprises 21 African member states stretching from Tunisia to Eswatini.

The CCC said the three have been accused of price signalling with Willard Mwemba, CCC’s CEO, saying his organisation has observed that the liners issued price announcements which could be construed as a form of coordinated behaviour.

A spokesperson for Maersk confirmed the company has received a request for information from the CCC.

“We have no reason to believe Maersk is guilty of any wrongdoing,” the spokesperson told Splash today. 

Across the world, regulators have been looking into liner pricing tactics during the pandemic, a period of time where container shipping has recorded astronimical, record profits while schedule reliability has nosedived to all-time lows – and the continent of Africa has seen ship calls drop as liners have prioritised more profitable tradelanes to Europe and North America.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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