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BUSINESS

French shipping giant to partner with Italian rival

 

The world's second and third largest container shipping companies, Swiss-Italian MSC and France's CMA CGM, announced a partnership Thursday to share their fleets.

 

In a statement, the two family-owned companies said the move would “optimise” operations amid fears of a downturn in the global shipping industry due to global economic weakness.

The statement said the partnership would affect the companies’ Asia-Northern Europe, Asia-Southern Africa and South American routes.

“The agreement offers us new opportunities to optimise the use of our respective fleets, improve our transit times and increase our performance,” MSC Vice President Diego Aponte said in the statement.

“We have decided to step up our partnerships, which reflect a commitment to long-term cooperation and will enable us to offer customers improved solutions and services,” CMA CGM Group CEO Rodolphe Saade said.

The two groups will nonetheless remain commercial competitors and the partnership will not involve an exchange of capital.

Sources connected with the deal told AFP it would take effect in two weeks.

CMA CGM has suffered from debt problems and in September ratings agency Standard and Poor’s revised its outlook on the shipping giant to negative, warning that it was at risk of breaching conditions on its debt.

BUSINESS

French court hands Amazon €90,000-per-day fine over contracts

French authorities on Wednesday slapped a €90,000-per-day fine on e-commerce giant Amazon until it removes abusive clauses in its contracts with businesses using its platform to sell their goods.

French court hands Amazon €90,000-per-day fine over contracts

The anti-fraud Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (DGCCRF) service said the online sales giant’s contracts with third-party sellers who use its Amazon.fr website contain “unbalanced” clauses.

“The company Amazon Services Europe did not comply completely with an injunction it was served and it is now subject to a fine of €90,000 per day of delay” in applying the changes, the DGCCRF said in a statement.

It also urged the platform to conform with European rules on equity and transparency for firms using online platforms.

Amazon said the order would harm consumers.

“The changes imposed by the DGCCRF will stop us from effectively protecting consumers and permit bad actors to set excessive prices or spam our clients with commercial offers,” the e-commerce giant said in a statement.

“We will comply with the DGCCRF’s decision but we absolutely do not understand it and we are challenging it in court,” responded the e-commerce giant in a statement.

Amazon said the clauses that the DGCCRF has ordered removed had, for example “prevented the appearance of exorbitant prices for mask and hydroalcoholic gel during the pandemic”.

In 2019, Amazon was fined €4 million for “manifestly unbalanced” contract clauses with third-party sellers on its site in a case brought by the DGCCRF.

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