Wednesday, July 1, 2015

MIllions in Fines for Antitrust Actions Hit Japanese Container and RoRo Automotive Shipping Line

Vehicle Carrier Conspired to Fix Ocean Freight Rates - More Penalties to Come
Shipping News Feature

SOUTH AFRICA – The Competition Commission has reached a settlement agreement with Japanese container and automotive shipping line, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) for violating the country’s Competition Act by colluding with competitors to fix the prices of ocean freight services on motor vehicles shipped to and from South Africa, in a case similar to that of the antitrust lawsuit underway in the US which has seen several well-known RoRo cargo carriers penalised millions and some employees jailed for their anti-competitive actions.

The Commission found that NYK colluded on 14 tenders with its competitors for the transportation of motor vehicles by sea issued by several automotive manufacturers to and from South Africa, including BMW, Toyota Motor Corporation, Nissan, and Honda among others. NYK admitted to this collusive conduct and agreed to pay an administrative penalty of R104 million (around $8.5 million). NYK was also part of the American lawsuit which saw the group pay upwards of $59 million.

This settlement followed the Commission’s investigation of collusive conduct against shipping liners, namely MOL, K Line, CSAV, Hoegh Autoliners, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, Eukor Car Carriers, and NYK that they allegedly fixed prices, divided markets and tendered collusively in respect of the provision of deep sea transportation services which entailed the shipment of large quantities of motor vehicles, equipment and machinery by sea to and from South Africa.

The Commission has filed the settlement agreement with the Tribunal for confirmation of its standing as an order of the Tribunal. The Commission’s investigation is continuing against the rest of the respondents.