On 22 November 2013, the EU Commission opened proceedings under Article 101 of the TFEU against container shipping companies accusing them of participation in anti-competitive agreements. These proceedings do not prejudge the existence of an infringement but is a necessary procedural step should the Commission wish to make a finding of infringement under Article 101 for anticompetitive agreements
These proceedings follow dawn raids at the premises of several container shipping companies over two years ago by the Commission. The alleged anti-competitive activity involves regular public announcements of price increases by each of the companies, followed in quick and regular succession by similar announcements from each of their competitors.
An exchange of pricing information exchange has been found in the UK before in the cases of independent school fees and airline passenger fuel surcharges. However, such price increases and their public airing are often legitimate practices based on rising external costs. Such a defence was recently put forward by UK energy companies when they were accused of similar practices.