South African Officials Raid Premises of Six Shipping Firms

The premises of six cargo shipping companies operating in the Western Cape and Kwazulu-Natal provinces were raided on September 28, according to the Competition Commission of South Africa.

Namely, the Commission said it has reasonable grounds to suspect that the shipping companies Hamburg Süd South Africa, Maersk South Africa, Safmarine, Mediterranean Shipping Company, Pacific International Line South Africa and CMA CGM Shipping Agencies South Africa have engaged “in collusive practices to, inter alia, fix the incremental rates for the shipment of cargo from Asia to South Africa in contravention of the Competition Act.”

The search and seizure operation was conducted as part of an ongoing investigation which was initiated by the Commission based on information from a member the public.

During the search the Commission seized documents and electronic data, which will be analysed together with other information gathered to determine whether these companies have contravened the Competition Act.

“South Africa is a strategic hub for the trade of goods in and out of the Southern African region. 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,” Tembinkosi Bonakele, the Commissioner of the Competition Commission, said.

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