The U.S. Justice Department has ordered top executives from several container shipping lines to testify in an antitrust investigation over practices by an industry that is the backbone of world trade, the companies said on Wednesday.
The world’s biggest container group, Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk, together with second largest line MSC of Switzerland, Germany’s Hapag Lloyd, Taiwan-based Evergreen and Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line said their executives were among those who had been subpoenaed.
None offered details on what exactly was being sought by the U.S. authorities, although OOCL said its subpoena called for the production of documents.
The subpoenas were issued during a meeting of top container shipping executives last week in San Francisco. They are members of the International Council of Containership Operators, commonly known as the Box Club.
“We can confirm that we conducted an operation,” an FBI spokesman in San Francisco told Reuters on Wednesday. “It is