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Ocean Shipping Firms Probed by Competition Agencies

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Sept. 7 (Bloomberg) -- The European Union’s antitrust regulator and the U.S. Justice Department said they are investigating possible violations in the maritime shipping industry.

The Brussels-based European Commission carried out unannounced inspections yesterday at several providers of maritime transport services for cars as well as construction and agricultural rolling machinery, the regulator said in a statement today.

The commission said it has “reasons to believe that the companies concerned may have violated” EU competition rules. The EU didn’t identify the companies.

Gina Talamona, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department in Washington, confirmed in an e-mail that the agency’s antitrust division “is investigating the possibility of anticompetitive practices involving the ocean shipping of cars, trucks, construction equipment and other products.”

“We are coordinating with the European Commission, the Japanese Fair Trade Commission and other international competition authorities,” Talamona said, declining to elaborate further.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sara Forden in Washington at sforden@bloomberg.net; Stephanie Bodoni in Luxembourg at sbodoni@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net; Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net