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Are trans-Pacific carriers guilty of price gouging?

Spot rates in the trans-Pacific ocean trade continue to reach epic new heights, leading to talk of price gouging.

“Container lines have done well during the global pandemic, but are they profiteering from the crisis?” asked U.K.-based consultancy Drewry.

“Perversely, lines look set to make more money than they have in a long time,” Drewry continued. The practice of “blanking” (canceling) sailings “has paid off handsomely.”

“From a public-relations perspective, the optics of making big profits during a global crisis are not great” and will lead to “more animosity and accusations of profiteering,” said Drewry, adding that it “is inclined to give carriers the benefit of the doubt for now.”

The ultimate question is: Will trans-Pacific rates prompt action by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), the agency that oversees alliances?

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