Liner pricing investigations multiply across the globe

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.

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.


  1. About time, world-wide inflation which has a burden on standards of living, has been caused by greedy carriers increasing rates, which importers cant afford, so to compensate they increases the value of their goods , which inevitably is passed on to the consumer. The unfortunate thing is that government policies will get the blame , when in fact it is greedy carriers.

  2. Liner operators have done themselves no good by recently announcing Bunker Surcharges to cover the recent fuel price hikes. As if the monster profits and inflated freight rates were not already enough, they had to get greedy and demand more money on top.

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