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PUBLISHER: container News (www.container-news.com)

After months of pressure and protests from the government and trade associations, Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) said today (18 January) that it will impose a US$80.7 million fine on 23 liner operators for colluding to fix freight rates on the South Korea-Southeast Asia route over a 15-year period.

The trouble began in July 2018, when the antitrust body received complaints from timber importers, who became suspicious when almost all liner operators simultaneously raised freight charges for the South Korea-Southeast Asia route.

The liner operators include HMM, SM Merchant Marine (SM Line), Korea Marine Transport Company (KMTC Line), Pan Ocean, Sinokor Merchant Marine, Maersk Sealand, COSCO, SITC Container Lines, Evergreen Marine Corporation, Yang Ming Marine Transport and Wan Hai Lines.

KMTC Line will be fined the most, at US$24.86 million, while HMM’s penalty is around US$3 million.

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