By Foo Yun Chee
(Reuters) – The world’s two biggest container shipping companies, AP Moller-Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Company, are seeking to end an EU antitrust probe and escape possible fines, three people with knowledge of the case said on Tuesday.
The people said that in addition to Danish company Maersk and Switzerland-based MSC, also the world’s No. 3 CMA CGM, Taiwan’s Evergreen Marine, South Korean No. 2 Hyundai Merchant Marine and some Japanese peers are also keen to put the case behind them.
“The companies are in preliminary discussions with the European Commission now,” said one of the sources who declined to be named because there is no final decision yet.
The people said the companies may offer concessions to allay competition concerns under the Commission’s commitment procedure which means no finding of infringement and no fine.
The European Union antitrust authority said in November last year that the group may have been illegally orchestrating price rises for European routes since 2009. It did not name the companies but sources told Reuters 14 firms are being investigated.
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