Maersk Line and the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation (FAS) have agreed to settle a competition case that could have cost the shipping company US$12 million due to it and other shipping lines’ price announcements to the Russian market.
The agreement is subject to a settlement fee payment of approximately USD $230,000 by Maersk Line. The previous FAS decision on a fine of approximately USD 12 million has been terminated.
FAS found no evidence of cartel behaviour, but under a unique provision in Russian Competition Law, it had initially concluded that Maersk Line and the other shipping lines’ use of price announcements constituted a non-cartel concerted action.
In the proposed agreement, Maersk Line commits to cease public price announcements for cargo to Russian ports. Instead, customers will receive price information for Russia specific corridors through email or a password protected webpage.
The case opened in 2013 and concerned behaviour which is legal in other jurisdictions. It was previously investigated by the EU and not deemed an infringement of EU Competition Law.
Camilla Jain Holtse, Head of Competition Law at Maersk Line, said: “The case concerned a unique Russian provision that does not exist in other countries. This agreement shows the commitment of both parties to find a solution that creates clarity for the future.
“We look forward to continuing our engagements in Russia. We appreciate the constructive and professional dialogue we have had with FAS on the matter. We are committed to comply with all applicable laws and regulations and we work hard to ensure compliance”.
The guidelines are also aligned with the principles Maersk Line voluntarily adopted with the EU Commission in July 2016 when it closed its competition case, finding no infringement of EU competition law in 14 shipping lines’ use of price announcements.
Holtse concluded: “We welcome FAS’ decision to opt for international regulatory standards. FAS has recognised the global nature of liner shipping and the compelling need for a coherent regulatory approach. This is a very positive international precedent as it supports our global industry to apply an aligned global regulatory approach.”
In other recent news, Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd have announced that they will enter a slot purchase agreement for Hamburg Süd’s volumes on the East-West trades to be shipped on vessels in the 2M shipping alliance network.