Evergreen Marine and Neptune Orient Lines are denying charges by prosecutors in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, that their employees were involved in falsifying data on cargo volumes passing through the port in order to collect Taiwanese government incentives.
"Evergreen Marine did not falsify any data," said Barbara Yeninas, an Evergreen spokesperson.
"The Kaohsiung case resulted from different calculation methods used by the prosecutors and harbor authorities," Yeninas said.
"The container throughput of Evergreen Marine Corporation in Kaohsiung was in accordance with the standard calculation published by Taiwan Transportation authority and Kaohsiung Harbor. The data also had been verified without fault by Kaohsiung Harbor."
NOL, the parent of container line APL, said in a statement, "The company denies any involvement in this matter.
It said that while three employees of APL and one former employee had been indicted or are to be indicted on corruption and fraud charges, "none of the NOL group companies (including APL) has been indicted on such charges."
The two shipping lines were responding to Thursday's indictments by prosecutors of 46 executives from some of the world's biggest liner shipping companies and the Port of Kaohsiung on charges of fraud for allegedly inflating cargo volumes to claim government incentives.
Those indicted include executives of Evergreen Marine, Wan Hai, Yang Ming, APL, NYK Logistics and the director general of the Kaohsiung harbor bureau, Shieh Ming-Hui.
Kaohsiung prosecutors accused Shieh and more than 10 of his staff of helping five shipping lines claim a total of $10 million in government rewards over the past three years.
The indictment alleges that Kaohsiung harbor bureau officials colluded with ship line executives to collect the bonuses.
Prosecutors say their own calculations show that actual throughput by the five companies' ships fell short of those reported by the Kaohsiung harbor bureau by more than 10 percent of the port's stated container throughput in 2006 and 2007, when container traffic at Kaohsiung peaked at 10.2 million 20-foot containers.
Shieh said the port had its own system to gauge cargo volume and he was not aware of the difference between that and the figures ship lines reported.
Wan Hai said it had "actively sought to claim all reasonable and legal benefits in accordance with national policy and for the benefit of its shareholders." It had evidence its staff followed regulations in reporting throughput, and added, "There is clearly a misunderstanding."
Kaohsiung began an incentive scheme for shipping lines in 2006, offering rental concessions and other rewards for those bringing additional traffic to the port.
Contact Peter T. Leach at email@example.com.