Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Freight Forwarding and Logistics Group Has Bad End to a Poor Year

Swiss 3PL Operator Hit with Double Whammy in December
Shipping News Feature

SWITZERLAND – NORWAY – Not a good end to the year for Swiss 3PL group Panalpina which has not only had to write off some of the assets it thought it held in Grieg Logistics, the Norwegian agency it partially acquired in 2011 from the Grieg Group, but also found itself at the wrong end of a 3.12 million Swiss franc fine from its home country’s Competition Commission along with substantial penalties imposed on other major freight forwarding groups.

The Grieg Logistics freight portfolio consists largely of oil and gas contracts and it is presumably the loss of one of these lucrative energy related customers which has caused Panalpina to announce that it expects an impairment charge of CHF 29 million to be recorded against the former Grieg assets in its full-year financial statement 2012.

Just a week or so before in yet another of the seemingly endless anti trust cases we have witnessed in the past few years the Swiss authorities fined Panalpina Welttransport (Holding) AG the CHF 3.12 million whilst penalising Deutsche Bahn AG/Schenker CHF1.02 million, Kuehne & Nagel International AG CHF 1.17 million and Agility Logistics International BV just short of a million CF as the other members in a price fixing cartel in which five companies conspired between 2003 and 2007 to fix agency fees and surcharges.

The fifth company, Deutsche Post AG/DHL, escaped any punishment as it declared the illegalities to the authorities voluntarily, something which must grate with the other freight forwarding groups considering exactly the same thing happened when the EU slapped a massive €169 million in penalties on some of the usual suspects in the so called ‘Gardening Club’ scandal. Two months after being hit with its near €46.5 million share of the EU penalty Panalpina announced it would be appealing against what CEO Monika Ribar said at the time was a penalty level that she considered ‘not justified’.

For further information on the past transgressions of freight forwarders involved in the worldwide series of anti trust scandals just type suitable keywords (e.g. cartel) into the News Search box at the head of the page.

Photo: Seemingly when Panalpina made its Norwegian purchase the Logistics name remained firmly with the Grieg group.