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Peru to sanction 17 shipping companies over price fixing

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LatAm   The biggest shipping companies under fire

Peru's anti-trust regulator started a sanctions procedure against 17 shipping companies it suspects of colluding on prices for years on goods moved between the country's Callao port and Asia.

Authorities could fine each company 12 percent of its parent company's annual earnings if wrongdoing is confirmed, said Jesus Espinoza, an official with regulator Indecopi, Retuers reports.

Seized evidence from inspections, such as business emails and minutes from meetings, point to a cartel that schemed to jack up freight fees between 2009 and 2013 and perhaps longer, Indecopi said in a statement.

Shipping companies named as suspects include units belonging to A.P. Moller-Maersk, Hapag Lloyd and American President Lines owned by Neptune Orient Lines.

A spokesperson for Maersk said he could not immediately provide comment outside of regular business hours. The other companies did not immediately respond to requests for reaction.

Espinoza said each firm had 30 days to submit a defence. The investigation could take up to a year and a half to conclude.

The suspected cartel would have hurt the competitiveness of export companies operating in Peru and might have pushed up the cost of imports in the Andean country, Espinoza told a press conference.

The investigated shipping lines are American President Lines, CMA CGM, Chilean Maritime Company (Formerly Compania Chilena de Interoceanic Navigation), American Steamship Company, Hamburg Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts Gesellschaft, Hapag Lloyd AG, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Maersk Line Agency Holding, Mediterranean Shipping Company, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha.

Meanwhile, maritime or general agencies involved in this alleged infringement are APM Terminals Inland Service, CMA-CGM Peru, Hamburg Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts Gesellschaft KG Branch Peru, Peru Hapag-Lloyd, K Line Peru and Mediterranean Shipping Company of Peru.

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