Thursday, February 13, 2014

Another $1 Million Antitrust Settlement Over RoRo Ocean Freight Shipments

US Authorities Again Stamp On Japanese Shipping Lines
Shipping News Feature

US – The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has reached a compromise agreement with Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and its corporate affiliate Nissan Motor Car Carrier (NMCC), resolving allegations that the two carriers violated US ocean freight regulations by colluding with other car carriers on the shipment of vehicles by Ro/Ro or specialised car carrier vessels. Under the settlement, MOL agreed to pay $1,275,000 in penalties, a sum higher than that of either K Line or NYK after the companies recently agreed to pay $1.1 million and $1.22 million respectively, to settle similar antitrust allegations against them.

In concluding the compromise, MOL and NMCC agreed to provide ongoing cooperation with other Commission investigations or enforcement actions with respect to these activities. The carriers did not admit to violations of the Shipping Act. Commission staff alleged that these practices persisted over a period of several years and involved numerous US trade lanes. Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Mario Cordero stated:

"This is the second public announcement in recent months of Commission enforcement action against parties who fail to file carrier agreements. We take seriously our statutory responsibility under the Shipping Act to protect the shipping public and to ensure that agreements affecting carrier working relationships in the US trades are properly filed and reviewed by the Commission."

Photo: NMCC’s Andromeda Spirit under way.