US clears three top shippers in price-fixing case

The following is text of a news report from Port Technology International:

(WASHINGTON) — Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd and Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC), three of the biggest container shipping lines in the world, have been cleared of any wrongdoing following an antitrust investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

The DOJ began its investigation into possible price fixing in the container shipping industry in March 2017 and issued subpoenas to several top executives.

However, Maersk, MSC and Hapag-Lloyd, the largest, second-largest and fifth-largest container lines, respectively, all said the investigation, which is now closed, had cleared them.

In a statement published by Reuters, Maersk said: “We are pleased to confirm that the United States Department of Justice has closed its investigation into containerized shipping and has released Maersk from any obligations under the grand jury subpoenas issued during the March 2017 meeting of the International Council of Containership Operators.”

A Hapag-Lloyd spokesman was also quoted in Reuters: “Hapag-Lloyd was informed that the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, is closing its investigation without charges against the company, its affiliates or any other current or former employees.”

The news agency also said MSC had been informed that the investigation was closed and no charge or penalty will be brought.

By Professional Mariner Staff