Asian shipping lines under investigation

The European Commission has launched an antitrust investigation of the world’s largest shipping lines over possible price fixing, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. 

On May 17, European Commissioner investigators raided the offices of several major shipping companies in Denmark, France, Germany and Switzerland, conducting interviews and examining records. The commission’s suspicions were initially aroused, according to the article, when container shipping prices rose in 2009 as demand dropped and industry capacity expanded.

The index price for shipping a 40-ft. container was $1,603 in 2009. A year later, despite a slowdown in trade and a threefold increase in the number of container ships at sea, the price rose to $2,517.