US Orders Carriers to Testify in Global Shipping Probe

A number of representatives from major container shipping companies have been subpoenaed by the US Department of Justice as part of an investigation into the global ocean container shipping industry, Reuters said citing shipping lines.

In a statement to World Maritime News the Danish shipping major Maersk Line confirmed that the company was served a subpoena by the US DOJ on March 15, adding that the subpoena “does not set out any specific allegations against Maersk Line.”

The Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) also said that it “has received a subpoena from the Department of Justice Antitrust Division calling for the production of documents.” The company added that it intends “to comply fully with the subpoena, and will not comment further while the matter is pending.”

The US Department of Justice declined to comment on the investigation, which was launched amid concerns over possible anti-competitive behavior by container shipping companies after the carriers asked the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) for approval to form the Ocean and THE alliances.

Other companies which received subpoenas reportedly include the German container shipping line Hapag-Lloyd.

World Maritime News contacted the German giant for more details on the matter, however the company is yet to reply.

“A subpoena does not mean that a company has engaged in illegal behavior nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself. As always, Maersk will fully cooperate with the authorities in their investigations, and will respond as appropriate to the subpoena,” the Danish giant said.

Maersk Line added that, as the investigation is ongoing, the company has no further comments at this point.

World Maritime News Staff

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