Maersk accused of distorting Indian market

Maersk accused of distorting Indian market
APMT Mumbai holds a majority stake in Gateway Terminals India Pvt Ltd (GTIPL)

An Indian policy advisory organisation has filed a complaint against Maersk to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) alleging that the company is distorting competition in the container freight station (CFS) market, local media reported.

The Indian Competition Review (ICR) reportedly claimed that the Maersk group is taking advantage of its “dominant position” at Jawaharlal Nehru (JN) Port to dictate prices.

According to the ICR, by bundling services with some CFSs, which are operated by either the group itself or companies it has ties with, Maersk compels shipping lines to use those CFSs even though they have a higher price.

The ICR claimed that ships wanting to berth at the port’s Gateway Terminals India Pvt Ltd (GTIPL), in which APM Terminals (APMT) holds a majority stake through APMT Mumbai, “are being coerced […] to obtain its CFS services or services by its select[ed] partners operating at JN Port,” The Hindu BusinessLine reported.

The organisation reportedly added that vessels planning to berth at GTIPL in the future “are also coerced by APM Terminal Mumbai to obtain CFS service by one of the two Maersk CFS or two more, with which the firm has tie ups”.

According to the ICR, as shipping lines are allegedly coerced into choosing Maersk or a particular CFS, the competition among the rest of the companies offering CFS services is adversely impacted even when these services are competitively priced.

The ICR also claimed that the Danish group diverts shipping lines to an APMT-operated private port at Pipavav, where the tariffs are not regulated.

According to an official statement received from APMT Mumbai, at the time of writing the company had not received any formal notice or communication from the Competition Commission of India in this regard.

“We comply with all applicable Indian laws, rules and regulations,” the statement added.