US Justice Department subpoenaed top management of largest container shipping companies

Container carrier at portThe US Justice Department subpoenaed the top management of several container shipping companies, which are accused for price fixing and violation of the anti-trust regulations. The subpoenas were issued during a meeting of the world’s 20 biggest container shipping operators exclusives in San Francisco, which belong to the International Council of Containership Operators, commonly known as the Box Club. Among the container carriers engaged with the case are Maersk Line, Hapag-Lloyd and OOCL, which confirmed about receiving orders to testify. The move came after the US Justice Department raised concerns over possible anti-competitive behavior by container shippers with the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) after shippers sought approval to form the Ocean and THE alliances.

“The subpoena does not set out any specific allegations against Maersk Line”, said the spokesman of Maersk Line. “The company will fully cooperate with the authorities in their investigations”, added the spokesman.

“OOCL has received a subpoena from the Department of Justice Antitrust Division calling for the production of documents. OOCL intends to comply fully with the subpoena”, said the spokesman of OOCL in Hong Kong.

The move came after the US Justice Department raised concerns over possible anti-competitive behavior by container shippers with the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) after shippers sought approval to form the Ocean and THE alliances. They allow shippers to pool their ships, coordinating sailing schedules and port calls to save money, but according to many critics and analysts they alliances can lead to reduced services and increased prices.