On Tuesday, the world’s two biggest container shipping companies have announced they were cleared in an investigation by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).
Denmark’s Maersk and Switzerland’s Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) were among several companies ordered to testify in an antitrust investigation that began in 2017, over practices by an industry that is the backbone of world trade. Other lines included Germany’s Hapag Lloyd.
Container companies, which transport everything from TVs to bananas, have tried reduce costs through alliances to pool sailing schedules and port calls. Critics say this can lead to reduced services and increased prices for customers.
Privately-owned MSC, the world’s no.2 line, said it had been informed by the DoJ that the department had closed its investigation into MSC and the global container shipping industry without bringing charges or imposing penalties.
A.P. Moller Maersk confirmed that the DoJ had closed its investigation and had released Maersk from any obligations under the Grand Jury subpoenas issued in March 2017.
Last week, Maersk warned that trade headwinds would slow container demand growth this year, sending its shares down 10 percent. The U.S. investigation followed separate cases in other jurisdictions in recent years.