Huge Rotterdam harbor firm in price-fixing investigation

Europe Container Terminals (ECT), the largest container company in the Rotterdam harbor, is suspected of market manipulation, the Financieele Dagblad (FD) reports based on sources that remained anonymous. 

ECT allegedly favored barges that they hired themselves for pulling cargo to and from the hinterland. In practice this means that barges that are not part of ECT's special service - European Gateway Services" often have to make way for ECT's own ships. This disrupts the competition relationship, NRC reports.

According to NRC, several companies complained about the preferential treatment ECT received to the FD. The competition authority Autoriteit Consument & Markt (Authority Consumer & Market - ACM) supposedly raided the ECT headquarters on the Maasvlakte on August 28th last year. Several sources told the FD that about 18 employees of ACM invaded the headquarters that they. They seized computer files and questioned some managers.

A spokesperson for ACM would not confirm or deny that they raided the ECT headquarters to NRC. ACM will only confirm whether there is an investigation after ECT itself discloses the subject of the investigation, NRC reports. ECT was not available for comment.