According to Diario Financiero, the lawsuit, filed at the Chilean Court of Defense of Free Competition, lists practices such as deliberate cargo delays and unjustified charges by MSC, which allegedly affected 994 containers on more than 20 different routes, representing some 16,000 tons of fruit.
The accusations suggest blueberries were the main product affected, but they also state that the damage extended to apples, pears, grapes, and citrus. Lawyers representing the Chilean companies said their clients booked their cargo slots months in advance of the export season, but once maritime rates began to rise due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, they said the shipping company decided to prioritise other routes, thus setting aside previous engagements.
Diario Financiero quotes the exporters as saying: “MSC, leveraged on the contracts it had closed, and with the certainty that it would continue to obtain the income from such contracts, deliberately chose to exploit other businesses to the detriment of our clients, altering the routes and the number of stops on the routes required by them, which it was able to do without any counterweight or risk of being disciplined, only because of the captive situation in which they found themselves”.
MSC also allegedly charged the fruit companies for over-stays in the ports of destination, which lawyers acting for the fruit companies insist were already applied in advance, even without the certainty that they would take place.