Department of Justice serves subpoenas on several international lines attending meeting of International Council of Containership Operators or ‘Box Club’. Several major international container shipping lines last week received subpoenas from the US Department of Justice as part of an investigation into the container shipping sector.
A spokesperson for Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) told Lloyd’s Loading List: “We confirm that several container shipping lines, including MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, received last week subpoenas from the US Department of Justice. Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation we cannot comment further at this stage.”
And a spokesperson for Maersk Line told Lloyd’s Loading List: “We can confirm that Maersk Line on 15 March 2017 was served a subpoena (request for documents) by the US Department of Justice in the course of an investigation into the global ocean container shipping industry. The subpoena does not set out any specific allegations against Maersk Line.”
Maersk stressed that 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 world’s largest container shipping line said, emphasizing that Maersk Line “is a values-driven company with a strong culture of compliance”, and adding: “We are committed to comply with laws and regulations. We train and support our employees, we monitor our compliance, we work with authorities and engage in regulatory matters. In short, we work hard to comply, also with competition laws.”
But in terms of this specific investigation by the US, the line said: “As the investigation is ongoing, we have no further comments at this point.”
Lloyd’s List reported that the US Department of Justice served the subpoenas on lines at a meeting in San Francisco of the International Council of Containership Operators, commonly known as ‘The Box Club’, taking advantage of the presence of so many international lines within the US. Most of those attending the latest meeting represented non-US lines, Lloyd’s List said.
It is unclear at the time of writing whether the US Department of Justice believes the meeting of The Box Club itself represented a breach of US competition laws, or whether the subpoenas are part of a wider investigation into competition within the container shipping sector. Lloyd’s List reports that The Box Club has permission, filed with the US Federal Maritime Commission, for competitors to meet to discuss matters of mutual interest that are not of a commercial nature.
Source: http://www.lloydsloadinglist.com Author: Will Waters | Thursday, 23 March 2017