Sunday, August 25, 2019

Yet Another Car Shipping Cartel Member Faces Multi-Million Dollar Penalty

Authorities Proceed Against Third Line for Antitrust Behaviour
Shipping News Feature
AUSTRALIA – Following continuing investigations by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Norwegian headquartered shipping company, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean (WWO), a substantial part of whose business is specialising in deep sea automotive transport, is the latest of the car carriers to be charged with criminal cartel conduct.

The charge relates to alleged antitrust activities concerning the international shipping of certain vehicles to Australia between June 2011 and July 2012. These charges follow convictions against Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), in August 2017 and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd (K-Line) in August 2019 for similar consoiracies in the same cartel which WWO has allegedly participated in. NYK was ordered to pay a fine of A$25 million whilst K Line was penalised A$34.5 million

The cartel operated from at least February 1997, and impacted the transportation prices of cars, trucks, and buses to Australia from the US, Asia and various European countries. WWO and other shipping lines transported these vehicles on behalf of major car manufacturers such as Nissan, Suzuki, Honda, Toyota and Isuzu and others, allegedly having jointly discussed and agreed terms of the trade.

The charge was laid by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution (CDPP) in the NSW District Registry of the Federal Court. The matter has been set down by the Court for a first mention on 29 August 2019. ACCC Chair Rod Sims said:

“This is the third prosecution involving an international shipping company engaging in alleged cartel conduct where criminal charges have been laid under the Competition and Consumer Act.”

This will not be the first time the Norwegian group have stood in the dock accused of this offence. As Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) the group was fined millions of dollars in the US and in cases in Europe and South Korea.