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News 24 reports that the Competition Commission on Wednesday conducted a search and seizure operation at the premises of six cargo shipping companies operating in the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal (KZN) on suspicion of collusion and rate fixing, the body said in a statement.

“The Commission has reasonable grounds to suspect that Hamburg Sud South Africa, Maersk South Africa, Safmarine, Mediterranean Shipping Company, Pacific International Line South Africa and CMA CGM Shipping Agencies South Africa have engaged in collusive practices,” the Commission said.

The companies’ practices aimed to among other things fix the incremental rates for the shipment of cargo from Asia to South Africa, which was in contravention of the Competition Act.

According to the Commission, the search and seizure operation is conducted as part of an ongoing investigation which was initiated by the Commission based on information from a member of the public.

The companies under investigation transport cargo for import and export purposes across the globe, including South Africa. They use large metal containers as packaging crates and in-transit warehouses to store and transport general cargo such as frozen foods, garments and footwear.

The customers of these companies are mainly clearing and freight forward agents.

“South Africa is a strategic hub for the trade of goods in and out of the Southern African region. Any cartel by shipping liners in this region results in inflated prices for cargo transportation,” said Tembinkosi Bonakele, commissioner of the Competition Commission.

“Cartels of this nature increase the costs of trading in the region and render the region uncompetitive in the world markets. Such cartels have the effect of significantly derailing the economic growth of the region.”

Reuters reported that Maersk and MSC confirmed the raids and said they were cooperating with authorities. The other companies did not respond to Reuters’ requests for immediate comment.

“The fact that the SACC carries out such inspections does not mean that a company has engaged in anti-competitive behaviour,” Maersk said.

EU antitrust regulators in July accepted an offer from Maersk and 13 competitors to change their pricing practices in order to stave off possible fines. Source: News24

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South African logistics and shipping firm Grindrod has continued its expansion programme, with the purchase of Safmarine’s 51% stake in Ocean Africa Container Lines. Grinrdod gave no details of the price paid for Safmarine’s stake in Ocean Africa Container Lines (OACL), but Grindrod now fully owns the company, which operates a feeder service with four vessels between Durban and Angola, calling at several ports in between, including in Namibia and Angola.

OACL’s former COO, Mahmood Simjee, has now been appointed CEO. Grindrod hopes that OACL can continue to benefit from close ties with Safmarine and the latter’s parent company, Maersk. OACL could take advantage of Ngqura’s growing role as a transhipment port, particularly with Angolan ports. The shipping line previously operated between Durban and Mozambican ports and could again resume this role.

Röhlig-Grindrod, a joint venture between Grindrod Limited and Röhlig International, has also acquired Sturrock Group’s clearing and freight forwarding division in exchange for a 15% stake in Röhlig-Grindrod, leaving the founding partners with 42.5% equity each in the venture. The inclusion of black empowerment partners in Sturrock Group helps Röhlig-Grindrod to fulfil its empowerment requirements.

Hylton Gray, the CEO of Grindrod Logistics, said: “We are very pleased with the merger of the businesses and the introduction of the empowerment partners. Calulo, a partner in the Sturrock Group, already has a stake in Grindrod’s South African operations and has contributed significantly by way of existing relationships and experience in niche markets.” Source: worldcargonews.com

Safmarine App3How about this free Safmarine app. for iPhone and the iPad. Look for the latest up-to-date sailing schedules by origin and destination locations, together with transit times and vessel names. Trace your cargo by entering your container, booking or bill of lading number. Via the ‘hotlist’ you can store your most important searches for easy reuse later on.  Containers saved in the hotlist are monitored actively and you will be notified when your container has moved. View the location and contact details of our country offices with a simple look-up or find the nearest office via your iphone’s GPS.