Six major global container shipping lines were accused for price fixing by South Africa’s Competition Commission. The container carriers Maersk Line, Hamburg Sud, Pacific International Line (PIL), CMA CGM, Safmarine and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), are suspect of investigation due to engagement in collusive practices of fixing the incremental rates for the shipment of cargo from Asia to Western Cape and Kwazulu-Natal provinces in South Africa. The local Competition Commission collected a lot of evidences, including documents and electronic data from the companies and started deep investigation.
“South Africa is a strategic hub for the trade of goods in and out of the Southern African region. Any cartel by shipping liners in this region results in inflated prices for cargo transportation. Cartels of this nature increase the costs of trading in the region and render the region uncompetitive in the world markets. Such cartels have the effect of significantly derailing the economic growth of the region”, said the commissioner of the Competition Commission, Tembinkosi Bonakelea.
The commission is carrying out an inspection over the companies for violation of South African Competition Act, 89 of 1998 in relation to alleged price fixing. The police and commissioners entered into the officers of Maersk Line and Safmarine, taking a lot of evidences and documents related with the freight rates calculation.
From Maersk Line confirmed about the investigation, but stated that fact that such inspections are carried out does not mean that a company has engaged in anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.