Eimskip Settles Price-Fixing Charges

Image courtesy Eimskip

Published Jun 21, 2021 12:24 AM by The Maritime Executive

Reykjavík-based shipping line Eimskip has reached a settlement with Icelandic authorities to conclude a long-running price-fixing and collusion investigation into its relationship with Samskip, its primary competitor in the island's containerized freight trade. 

In the settlement, Eimskip acknowledged that there was "communication and collusive behavior with Samskip" between 2008 and 2013, which constituted a violation of the Icelandic Competition Act. To settle the investigation, Eimskip has agreed to pay a fine of about $12 million. 

The list of charges against Eimskip and Samskip was extensive, and covered collusion on limiting transport capacity; market sharing by customer and by geographical area; price fixing; limiting capacity on routes to and from Europe and North America; and collusion in the operation of shoreside logistics networks. 

Further, the Icelandic Competition Authority alleged that when it launched its investigation into the two firms, their "corporate executives provided incorrect information or withheld important information about communication with the competitor’s managers" - itself a violation of the Competition Act.

In a statement, Eimskip emphasized that its management has changed since the time period in question, and suggested that it is ready to move forward.

"[Since 2013] there has been a fundamental change in the company’s operations, new executive managers are on board, new main owners have joined the company and governance structure has been improved," said Vilhelm Már Þorsteinsson, Eimskip's CEO. "Despite the negative financial impact it was the board of directors' opinion that it would be in the best interest of the company to settle this old case."

With the settlement finished, Eimskip's side of the investigation is concluded, and there will be no further proceedings against the company in connection with the matter. The investigation into Samskip's role continues.