EU to investigate 14 container shipping firms over price moves

EU regulators  investigating whether 14 of the world’s major container shipping companies  have been orchestrating price rises since 2009 for routes to and from Europe in breach of EU competition rules.

The decision to launch an investigation  followed raids at the companies in several EU countries more than two years ago. EU did not name the companies under investigation or say how many are involved but a person familiar with the matter said 14 companies in Europe and Asia have been targeted in the probe, which is expected to take several years to complete.

Businesses found guilty of violating EU rules could be fined up to 10 per cent of their global turnover.

Among the companies being investigated are world No. 1 A.P. Moller-Maersk and No. 2 MSC.

A.P. Moller-Maersk confirmed it was part of the investigation and said it would cooperate with the authorities.

One of Maersk’s biggest rivals, Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd HPLG.UL, which is 22-percent owned by German travel and tourism group TUI AG (TUIGn.DE) and was raided by the Commission in 2011, said it had not been notified by the Commission of the latest investigation and declined to comment.

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