Indonesia investigating possible monopoly in shipping of exported lobster seeds

Published on
November 24, 2020

Indonesia’s Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) is conducting a study to see whether there is monopoly on the country’s shipping of exported baby lobsters.

KPPU Commissioner Guntur Syah Saragih said the study was launched after the agency received a report from an association operating in lobster hatchings, according to Tempo.co.

“The shipping service activities are concentrated on one particular party. KPPU notices no business competition there,” Guntur said, without providing the name of the company.

The competition supervisory agency will conduct a probe to gather more evidence in the case, Gunter said.

According to Guntur, the government has rules in place encouraging more participation in the shipping sector, and the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry has not selected any one company for the delivery of the baby lobsters. Nonetheless, Indonesian exporters of lobster seed had no other choice but to export their cargoes through one forwarder or shipping company, via Soekarno-Hatta Airport, despite the fact that lobster suppliers come from different parts of the country.

Indonesian Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo in early May implemented a new rule allowing the resumption of lobster seed exports, reversing a 2016 ban imposed by his predecessor, Susi Pudjiastuti. Less than two months after the decision, his ministry awarded exports licenses to 31 companies out of the 100 that were seeking the permits. Earlier this year, a investigation was initiated into possible ties between the country’s fisheries minister and several local exporters of lobster larvae, finding that owners and senior officials of many of those companies are members of the Great Indonesia Movement Party, or the Gerindra – where minister Prabowo is a senior member, Mongabay reported in July.

In September, the Fisheries Ministry revoked 14 export permits of baby lobsters due to exporters’ violations of rules requiring accurate reporting of trade volumes. The gap between the volume of lobster seeds shipped to Vietnam and the exporters’ reports was 1.12 million seeds.

Photo courtesy of Ethan Daniels/Shutterstock

Reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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