The EU Commission has announced that it has closed its formal investigation into 14 container shipping companies, including Maersk Line pursuant to Article 9 of Regulation 1/2003, without finding an infringement of EU competition law.
The commission opened the investigation on November 21, 2013. The investigation related to the use of General Rate Increase (GRI) announcements in the liner shipping sector. GRI announcements are used to inform customers of intended price increases.
Camilla Jain Holtse, Chief Legal Counsel on Competition Compliance in Maersk Line, said: “We are very pleased that the EU Commission has closed the case without finding an infringement of EU competition law. We and the other shipping companies have throughout declared that we have not engaged in any practices that contravene EU competition law.”
Maersk Line and the other parties have offered and will adopt commitments by which Maersk Line and the other shipping lines will change the way they make price announcements to customers.
Notably, there will be changes to the current industry practice of announcing GRIs.
Maersk Line will continue to announce price increases 30 days in advance of implementation to its customers by the usual communication channels. However, instead of solely announcing the amount of the increase, price announcements will include the total price resulting from the increase and further elements to increase transparency for customers.
PTI previously reported that a five-year probe into this issue could be coming to an end as EU antitrust regulators plan to accept an offer from global shipping lines.
Camilla Jain Holtse concluded: “We are committed to comply with all applicable laws and regulations. We train and support our employees, we monitor our compliance, and we work with authorities and engage in regulatory matters. In short, we work hard to comply, also with competition laws as this case shows.”