Answer given by Executive Vice-President Vestager on behalf of the European Commission
The Commission is aware of the material price increases for container shipping, the level of service quality in the maritime supply chain, and the related difficulties for European producers and consumers.
Within the realm of its powers and competences, the Commission is willing to address the concerns about the functioning of the supply chain, ensuring Europe’s competitiveness. It has at this stage not received evidence or identified anti-competitive behaviour in relation to these price increases. A similar conclusion has been reached by other key agencies, e.g. the Federal Maritime Commission of the United States.
The Commission entertains regular dialogues with stakeholders and maritime authorities from many jurisdictions, both inside and outside the EU, to exchange views on actions to increase the resilience of the sector. Dialogue partners have generally agreed that the pandemic has presented operators across the supply chain with exceptional challenges, that the causes of the price hikes and of the current level of service quality are multi-faceted, not necessarily entirely similar across the world, and hardly attributable to only one determining factor or one category of operators. The Commission will continue exchanging information and promoting joint analysis of the markets with stakeholders and maritime agencies.