The Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation concerning the "Baltic Max Feeder" scheme over a potential breach of EU rules on restrictive business practices (Article 101 of the TFEU). The Commission is concerned that the scheme, whereby European ship owners collectively agree to cover the costs of removing feeder vessels from service, may be aimed at reducing capacity and therefore pushing up charter rates for such vessels. Typically, feeder vessels collect shipping containers from different ports and transport them to central container terminals where they are loaded onto bigger vessels Opening antitrust proceedings does not mean that the Commission has conclusive proof of an infringement. It only signifies that the Commission will conduct an in-depth investigation of the case as a matter of priority.

IP/10/21 – 15 January 2010