South Africa suspects container shipping cartel

Competition Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele: "Cartels of this nature increase the costs of trading in the region and render the region uncompetitive in the world markets." Competition Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele: "Cartels of this nature increase the costs of trading in the region and render the region uncompetitive in the world markets."

SEPTEMBER 29, 2016 — South Africa's Competition Commission (Commission) yesterday conducted search and seizure operations at the premises of six container shipping companies operating in the Western Cape and Kwazulu-Natal provinces.

The Commission says it has reasonable grounds to suspect that Hamburg Sud South Africa (Pty) Ltd, Maersk South Africa (Pty) Ltd, Safmarine (Pty) Ltd, Mediterranean Shipping Company (Pty) Ltd, Pacific International Line South Africa (Pty) Ltd and CMA CGM Shipping Agencies South Africa (Pty) Ltd have engaged in collusive practices to, among other things, fix the incremental rates for the shipment of cargo from Asia to South Africa in contravention of the Competition Act.

"South Africa is a strategic hub for the trade of goods in and out of the Southern African region," said the Commissioner of the Competition Commission Tembinkosi Bonakele. "Any cartel by shipping liners in this region results in inflated prices for cargo transportation. Cartels of this nature increase the costs of trading in the region and render the region uncompetitive in the world markets. Such cartels have the effect of significantly derailing the economic growth of the region."

The Commission seized documents and electronic data, which will be analyzed along with other information gathered to determine whether the companies have contravened the Competition Act. The raids were conducted as part of an ongoing investigation nitiated by the Commission based on information from a member the public.

The Commission obtained warrants authorizing the raids from Western Cape High Court and Pietermaritzburg High Court.

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