Competition Commission warns Cargo Ship Collusion can lead to jail time

By Drum Digital
30 September 2016

There’s a battle for consumers’ pockets and the Competition Commission is on a campaign to put a halt on dodgy operations that affect South Africans.

This week, the commission is sifting through a pile of documents and data to determine if there was colluding amongst six shipment companies suspected of fixing incremental rates for the shipment of cargo from Asia to South Africa.

This would be a contravention of the Competition Act which requires companies to set independent prices for fair competition.

By colluding, these companies have eliminated competition and given themselves the power to inflate prices which indirectly affects consumers.

“It affects consumers because it affects our economy and consumers can be charged to pay higher prices for products,” says Itumeleng Lesofe, Spokesperson at the Commission.

The tip off came from a member of the public whose identity is being protected.

“We cannot compromise their identity but it is someone who has knowledge and understands the system,” he says.

The six cargo ships that were raided belonged to companies:  Hamburg Sud South Africa, Maersk South Africa, Safmarine, Mediterranean Shipping Company, Pacific International Line South Africa and CMA CGM Shipping Agencies South Africa.

“Our investigation is under way and we are going through documents and data to determine if there is evidence that supports this allegation,” says Lesofe.

Lesofe says if found guilty of collusion,  companies will be charged a fine up to 10% of their annual turnover, and individuals can face a R500 000 fine or imprisonment.

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