Evergreen Marine Corp (長榮海運) and Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp (陽明海運) last week denied US accusations of colluding with other shipping companies to fix prices, pledging to help in an investigation into such complaints amid a global shortage in marine cargo shipping services.
The allegations came as the US is experiencing high inflation, partly driven by the expensive cost of shipping since its economy began reopening after disruptions related to COVID-19.
Evergreen and Yang Ming said that cargo service prices are set based on US regulations, and their pricing had been reported to US marine authorities.
The two shippers said they would work with the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) in its probe into complaints regarding fees charged by shipping companies and terminal operators.
Earlier last week, the commission announced an audit program and a dedicated team to assess compliance with its rule on detention and demurrage — a charge paid to the owner of a chartered ship for failure to load or discharge the ship within the agreed time — as cargo vessels are stuck in major US ports.
The move aims to provide more information that benefits the market by regularly monitoring cargo services, the commission said.
The audit program would analyze the top nine carriers by market share for compliance with detention and demurrage rules in the US, it said.
The commission’s probe targets Evergreen and Yang Ming, as well as Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, Switzerland-headquartered Mediterranean Shipping Co, China-based COSCO Shipping Holdings Ltd (中遠海運控股), France’s Le Groupe CMA CGM, Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd AG, South Korea’s Hyundai Merchant Marine Co and Japan’s Ocean Network Express.
Evergreen and Yang Ming said that if the commission needs more information, they would provide it to facilitate the investigation.
There has been no collusion in pricing among the world’s major shippers, Yang Ming president Patrick Tu (杜書勤) said.
Tu quoted US President Joe Biden as saying that the US government has no intention of intervening in the international cargo shipping market.
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