MSC Facing $63.3M Fine Overcharging Customers

Stock photo shows a MSC shipping container being lifted onto a ship
The world's largest container carrier, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co. SA, is fighting back against a proposed U.S. government fine of $63.3 million for alleged overcharging and false billings. The company, based in Geneva, Switzerland, called the penalties "excessive" and plans to defend itself vigorously. Industry veteran John McCown called the fine unprecedented.
Share it now

The world’s largest container carrier, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co. SA, is facing a proposed fine of $63.3 million by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) for allegedly overcharging customers and false billings. The Geneva-based company, which reported significant profits during the pandemic-induced shipping boom, has called the penalties “excessive” and plans to vigorously defend itself against the allegations. The FMC has rarely imposed fines of this magnitude in the past, with penalties totaling less than $3 million in fiscal year 2023.

The FMC’s enforcement agency cited market power and tough tactics in its brief, noting that the alleged breaches occurred during the height of the Covid pandemic when global disruption was significant. MSC’s response to the motion is due by May 3, with a decision from an administrative law judge potentially taking months to reach. The company’s industry leadership has grown in recent years, overtaking AP Moller-Maersk A/S in total container capacity ranking in January 2022.

Container shippers faced criticism during the pandemic for charging high spot freight rates and late pickup fees, with justification given for the forces of supply and demand at work. MSC, owned by Italian billionaire Gianluigi Aponte, controls nearly 20% of the container capacity market, surpassing Maersk’s 14.6%. The FMC, responsible for regulating the U.S. international maritime transportation system, has a budget request of $48.5 million for fiscal year 2025.

Source .


Share it now