European Union regulators opened an antitrust investigation into container liner shipping companies, saying they signaled pricing changes to each other with press and website statements.
“Since 2009, these companies have been making regular public announcements of price increase intentions through press releases on their websites and in the specialized trade press,” the EU said in an e-mailed statement today. “These announcements are made several times a year and contain the amount of increase and the date of implementation, which is generally similar for all announcing companies.”
The pricing announcements may allow the companies to signal future pricing plans to each other and could allow them to raise prices on transport services to and from Europe, regulators said.
The European Commission didn’t identify the companies in the probe in today’s statement.
AP Moller-Maersk A/S, owner of the world’s largest container shipping company, CMA CGM SA and Hapag-Lloyd were among companies raided by EU officials in 2011 over possible collusion. EU regulators are also gathering market information over a pact between Maersk, CMA CGM and Mediterranean Shipping Co. to create the largest container alliance.
Shipping companies have not yet understood how they should operate without the price collusion they were accustom to in the old days of conferences. It's a new world, but they just don't get it.