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Seatrade today reports that the Chinese Ministry of Transport has cracked the whip by dishing out fines to 14 container lines for “failing to be transparent” on freight pricing.

The fines imposed total some $347,000 and the ministry has apparently spoken to eight of the carriers, including Hamburg Sud, Evergreen and CMA CGM, which are alleged to have “failed to record”, or “recorded inaccurate”, data on their freight rates –  “with some routes even displaying zero rates”.

The identity of the other six lines is unknown, including whether the state-owned Cosco is among them.

The ministry gave a stern warning that it will “tighten its supervision” and “impose stiffer penalties” if there are further indiscretions.

In December 2015, China’s National Development and Reform Commission fined eight shipping lines a total of $89m for “price collusion” in the shipment of vehicles and project cargo.

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