Saturday, June 20, 2015

Antitrust Agencies Meet After More Container Shipping Lines Fined for Freight Rate Abuses

Chinese Authorities Penalise Box Carriers then Discuss Situation with EU and US Counterparts
Shipping News Feature

CHINA – The Chinese Ministry of Transport has fined 21 shipping lines a total of 4.25 million yuan (around $684,000) over allegations that they ‘violated market conditions’ on Sino-Japan freight routes by offering prices to customers at a lower than normal rate, negatively affecting the ocean shipping market average. The list of offenders includes some names well known in the world of logistics including Chinese and Taiwanese container carriers.

China initiated its investigation into the anti-competitive practices on the Sino-Japan trade in July 2014 and, in announcing the list of companies that have been penalised, the Ministry of Transport urged the international shipping community to keep the market fair, in order to ensure a stable and healthy development.

The 21 companies that have been fined are: Shanghai PanAsia shipping, SITC, Shanghai Puhai Shipping, Sinotrans Container Lines, GOTO shipping International, TS Lines, Qingdao Marine Noah's Ark Shipping, Centrans International Marine Shipping, Yang Ming Marine, CSCL, Hong Kong Shun Shipping, Sinokor Merchant Marine, Dong Jin Merchant Marine, Chun Kyung Shipping, Cheng Lie Navigation, Shanghai Hai Hua Shipping, MCC Transport, Wan Hai Lines, Yunda Shipping, Evergreen Marine, and OOCL.

After handing down these fines to the shipping lines, representatives from the country's maritime regulatory authority looked to a more global scale of industry bad practices in a meeting with its counterparts from Europe and the US. Gathering to discuss antitrust and regulatory issues in maritime transport, the meeting focused on the global trend towards increased cooperation in the liner shipping market, as well as on regulatory and policy issues related to ports.

With the continued growth in carrier cooperation, with the plethora of alliances and vessel sharing agreements, the authorities considered that monitoring of the sector warrants ever closer contact and better communication between competition and regulatory authorities. Delegates also discussed their respective enforcement activities and highlighted each authority's priority issues such as port congestion.