Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Freight Forwarding Group Drops Court Cartel Action Against Air Cargo Carriers

However There Is Plenty More Litigation in the Offing
Shipping News Feature

US – GERMANY – It seems the class action brought by freight forwarding company Schenker AG against several airlines after they were found guilty of operating a cartel by US antitrust regulators has been weakened somewhat after the German headquartered group dropped charges against three of the seven cargo air cargo carriers it originally accused of price fixing.

The full story of the case is contained in our January article when two of the three, All Nippon Airways and Cargolux, issued a move to dismiss notice saying that Schenker was ‘forum shopping’, selecting a location for the case it felt would be beneficial. Now Deutsche Bahn (DB) AG, the German railway company of which Schenker AG is a subsidiary, has issued the following statement in connection with a Wall Street Journal report about the litigation, saying:

“Deutsche Bahn can confirm that its logistics subsidiary, Schenker AG, has dismissed its claims against Nippon Cargo, SAS and Cargolux in the air cargo cartel lawsuit brought in the Eastern District of New York. Schenker will continue to pursue its claims against other air carriers and seek damages relating to the air carriers’ anticompetitive conduct alleged in the U.S. cartel lawsuit, based on the legal principle of joint and several liability. Schenker plans to pursue its rights vigorously.”

We have queried in the past the fact that damages sought by the plaintiffs in these cases should presumably be passed on to individual shippers if the extra costs were not absorbed by the forwarders concerned. We have seen multi-million dollar fines and even jail terms imposed for these transgressions yet, when for example a car shipper moves vehicles internationally at an inflated price, the end user, i.e. the car purchaser, is usually the one to pay as the rates have been passed down the line by forwarder, importer and retail group.