MAERSK Line plans to appeal a decision by Russia's antitrust authorities that found the world's top ocean liner along with CMA CGM, Hyundai Merchant Marine, OOCL and Evergreen guilty of antitrust infringements.
"We do not agree that Maersk Line's conduct violated the law and intend to appeal the decision to the federal Arbitrazh court," the line told Lloyd's List.
Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) announced in a statement released over Christmas that the five shipping lines had broken the law by publishing general rate increases on their websites in a form of price signalling. The FAS said the five carriers violated Clause 1 Part 1 Article 11.1 of the Federal law On Protection of Competition.
The lines "exercised prohibited concerted actions that led to fixing mark-ups (extra payments) to freight rates on the market of liner container shipping on the Far East/Southeast Asia-Russian Federation (St Petersburg, Ust-Luga) routes in 2012-2013," the FAS said.
The FAS said it had established that in 2012-2013 information about mark-ups to freight rates was published on a website of one of the carriers, after which other market participants fixed the same mark-ups.
"Such concerted actions are prohibited for competitors, whose consolidated share of a relevant market exceeds 20 per cent and the market share of each entity exceeds eight per cent," the authority said.
Maersk Line noted that the FAS found no evidence of cartel behaviour. "Under a unique provision of Russian competition law, the FAS concluded that Maersk Line and other shipping lines' unilateral use of price announcements constituted non-cartel concerted actions," Maersk responded.
Evergreen also denied that it ever colluded with other lines on GRIs, while CMA CGM has declined to comment on the matter.
The company has 550 offices in 40 countries and territories supported by a large agency network across six continents, and manages 43 million square feet of logistics facilities worldwide.
Source : HKSG.