Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Truck Making Cartel Pursued by Road Haulage Interests After Latest Logistics Related Antitrust Case

Hauliers Overcharged for New Vehicles by Lorry Manufacturers are Seeking Compensation
Shipping News Feature
UK – Regular readers will be well aware of the propensity in the US to pursue those in logistics related industries who have engaged in antitrust activity by way of a ‘class action’ whereby anyone who considers they have lost money as a result of the illicit activity is entitled to be compensated along with those similarly treated. Our archives are littered with cases of wrongdoing of this nature with air and ocean carriers regularly prosecuted by global authorities. Now it seems likely that the recent scandal of European truck manufacturers colluding together is to be subject to a class action brought by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) on behalf of its members affected by the cartel activities of the lorry manufacturers.

Legal services have figured ever more largely for the RHA in recent years as rules and regulations on all aspects of UK and European trucking have tightened and extended and now the organisation says it has sought has sought legal advice and intends to honour its commitment to its members by pursuing the case for compensation from the truck manufacturers who have been identified as being involved in the coordinated truck price fixing cartel in which makers have been fined billions of Euros. RHA chief executive Richard Burnett observed:

“As the representative body with sole responsibility for UK road freight operators, we consider ourselves duty-bound to acknowledge and act upon our members’ wishes. They have made it clear that they feel aggrieved at the news of a truck pricing cartel and are looking to us to represent them. Last week, the Association’s board of directors (comprising member-elected individuals from RHA member companies) met to discuss the European Commission’s £2.5bn fine. Their unanimous decision was that the Association should progress compensation claims on behalf of its members.”

Of the major manufacturers only Scania is still protesting innocence with Volvo/Renault, Daimler and Iveco already penalised whilst DAF/MAN, having escaped a fine for cooperating with the authorities, might not be viewed so leniently by any lawyers prosecuting a case for compensation. RHA National Chairman Jim French, however took a slightly softer line, commenting:

“This is a serious issue for the haulage industry, both for hauliers in general and our members in particular. The road transport sector works to extremely tight margins and the truck itself is the largest capital investment our members make. Therefore they are looking for compensation from the manufacturers. The process for such a large number of interested parties is complex but we have been in discussions with our legal advisors so that we can progress the matter further.

“I wish to make it clear that the Road Haulage Association will not, itself, be benefitting from any financial action. We are keen to maintain the amicable and close working relationship we have always enjoyed with the truck manufacturers, as they have with their customers. We would seek to act in a way which resolves the interests of our members as swiftly and as appropriately as possible.”