Cartels: ACM stops its investigation in bunker sector
On 26 April 2018, the ACM announced that it had ended its investigation into cartel agreements in the bunker sector in the Amsterdam–Rotterdam–Antwerp triangle.
The ACM launched this investigation on the basis of leads regarding potential infringements in the bunker sector that the ACM received from the police and the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM). The ACM conducted several dawn raids on the basis of these leads. Following its investigation, the ACM concluded that, between 2011 and 2014, there had been discussions about a potential price-fixing agreement. However, as these discussions did not result in an actual cartel agreement, no infringement of the cartel prohibition took place. ACM nevertheless notes that this kind of conduct – where competitors have discussions about the desirability of price-fixing agreements – raises anticompetitive concerns. For this reason, ACM also sat down with trade association NOVE, which regards ACM’s investigation as a wake-up call for the entire bunker sector and has promised to devote attention to compliance on a permanent basis.
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