Liner pricing investigations are spreading around the world as carriers report record, multi-billion dollar profits while schedule reliability remains at historic lows.
Splash reported earlier this week that Maersk, CMA CGM and German-controlled United Africa Feeder Line are being investigated by an African 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.
In West Africa, it has since emerged that Nigeria’s Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has raided the local offices of five liners as it pursues its own price fixing investigations.
In Asia, meanwhile, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) has revealed it has initiated investigations into the pricing activities of 20 local and foreign liner operators over possible price fixing on routes linking South Korea with neighbouring Japan and China. In January, the KFTC fined a host of liners a combined $81m over historic price fixing on routes from South Korea to Southeast Asia.
No country has attracted more headlines for its liner investigations than the US. The Senate in Washington DC yesterday passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act taking the legislation one step closer to being enacted, a bill that would give regulator, the Federal Maritime Commission, greater powers to pursue container carriers.