The European Commission said on Friday it suspects that Taiwan-based Evergreen Marine Corp (長榮海運) and several other shippers have engaged in cartel activities in violation of EU antitrust regulations.
The commission said it launched an investigation into the matter on Wednesday with a raid on the offices of the shippers since it had collected sufficient evidence pointing to their wrongdoing.
However, the commission declined to disclose further details of the probe or the alleged cartel activities, saying the investigation was still in progress.
Apart from Evergreen Marine, the other shippers being investigated are Singapore-based Naptune Orient Lines, Hong Kong’s Orient Overseas (International) Ltd (東方海外國際), South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping, Denmark’s Maersk Line, CMA CGM of France and Hapag-Lloyd of Germany.
All of the shippers, including Evergreen Marine, have confirmed that they are under investigation by the European Commission.
The commission said it would respect the right of the shippers to defend themselves and has no presumptions on the results of the probe.
It also said it has no timetable for wrapping up the investigation, as this would depend on several factors such as the complexity of the case and whether or not the shippers would cooperate with the investigators.
The commission’s records show that in 1999 and 2000, Evergreen Marine was found to have violated EU antitrust law with actions that involved price fixing.