Maersk Line and the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation (FAS) agreed to settle a competition case regarding Maersk Line and other shipping lines’ use of price announcements to the Russian market for approximately $230,000.
FAS accused Maersk Line, CMA CGM, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Orient Overseas Container Line and Evergreen Line of coordinating the setting of surcharges on trade lanes connecting Russia to the Far East and Southeast Asia via General Rates Increase postings in 2012 and 2013. The service had planned to impose a fine of approximately $12 million.
In the case FAS found no evidence of cartel behavior, but under a unique provision in Russian Competition Law, FAS had initially concluded that Maersk Line and the other shipping lines’ use of price announcements constituted a non-cartel concerted action.
The case opened in 2013 and concerned behavior which is legal in other jurisdictions, says Maersk Line. This behavior was previously investigated by the E.U. and not deemed an infringement of E.U. Competition Law.
In the proposed agreement, Maersk Line commits to cease public price announcements for cargo to Russian ports. Instead, customers will receive price information for Russia specific corridors via email or a password protected webpage.
Further, Maersk Line will sign up to voluntary industry guidelines for price announcements which the company says are aligned with the principles it voluntarily adopted when the E.U. Commission in July 2016 closed its competition case.
Negotiations between the FAS and the other container lines accused of belonging to the cartel are believed to be underway.