South Korean antitrust authorities imposed 96.2 billion won ($81 million) in fines on 23 domestic and foreign shipping companies for price-fixing on multiple routes between South Korea and Southeast Asia over 15 years.
he fines were imposed against lines including Hyundai Merchant Marine and Taiwan’s Evergreen Marine.
Commenting on the fines, Korea Fair Trade Commission chair Joh Sung-wook, said that shipping is very important, but “there’s no change in our role to enforce laws on anti-competitive actions.” He also added that he expects the penalty to “spread fair competition culture in the shipping sector as well as pave the way for its sustainable development.”
Antitrust authorities around the world have been looking at liners carefully over the past 18 months, analyzing the nature of global alliances and questioning whether they exert too much control on the main tradelanes.
The action calls into question ONE for a business practice related to which companies ONE can charge fees for a shipment that sat at the terminal for more than two months.
More specifically, FMC has ordered for a hearing to resolve a dispute between ONE and Greatway Logistics Group based in Florida and how ONE is interpreting the definition of “merchant” in its Bill of Lading contracts. Violations could lead to civil penalties as well as an order to cease certain business practices.
FMC is also investigating Taiwan’s Wan Hai Lines regarding charges related to container returns. According to FMC, Wan Hai invoiced a customer at least 21 times in the spring of 2021 for detention charges when the carrier “either offered no return locations, the designated terminal was not accepting the containers’ chassis, or appointments were unavailable for the subject containers.”
The customer provided Wan Hai with screenshots verifying these restrictions and requested a waiver.