EU Fines 15 Leading Shippers For Collusion

Wednesday, May 17, 2000
The European Commission said on Tuesday it had fined 15 liner shipping companies a total of just under $6.3 million for agreeing not to offer discounts from their published tariffs. The companies involved were members of the now-defunct Far East Trade Tariff Charges and Surcharges Agreement (FETTCSA), and include Germany's Hapag-Lloyd AG, Denmark's A.P. Moeller and Britain's P&O Nedlloyd.

The Commission said the fines were modest because an agreement not to discount is less damaging to competition than a price-fixing cartel.

"Shipping lines operating within liner conferences benefit from an exceptionally generous exemption from the normal European competition rules," EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said. "It is important that a conference is faced by effective competition from independent shipping lines operating outside the conference. The FETTCSA case shows that the Commission will act firmly where conference and non-conference shipping lines conspire together as a cartel." - (Reuters)

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