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India: Watchdog orders DP, Maersk to withdraw some notices at Mumbai port

 |  January 20, 2019

India’s antitrust watchdog has ordered Denmark’s Maersk and Dubai’s DP World to withdraw certain customer advisories which it claims could hamper growth of the country’s largest container port in Mumbai, a document seen by Reuters showed.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) last year ordered a probe into suspected antitrust violations by DP World and Maersk units at the terminals they operate at state-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT).

Handling 66 million tonnes of cargo in the last fiscal year to March, JNPT is critical to India’s international trade. The port handles more than half of India’s traffic in shipping containers each year.

The probe was ordered as the CCI found merit in a complaint filed by Singapore’s PSA International, which alleged the rival duo had created barriers to hinder the growth of PSA’s terminal by colluding on certain charges they levy at the port.

Though the terminal operators handle each other’s containers to help boost the port’s efficiency, PSA had alleged that DP World and Maersk last year issued advisories aimed at discouraging port users from sending PSA’s containers to their terminals.

In an order issued by the CCI on January 15, the watchdog ordered Maersk and DP World units to withdraw those advisories, stating it “smacks of anti-competitive” conduct.

The advisories, if not withdrawn, would cause “irretrievable damage or losses”—not only to PSA—and would not augur well for the port’s development, according to the order. It had not been made public at the time of publishing.

“This is likely to generate unwarranted uncertainty, chaos, discontent and anxiety amongst shipping lines and customers,” the CCI stated.

Full Content: Reuters

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