Tuesday, November 15, 2016

More Antitrust Woes Ahead for Japanese RoRo Car Transporter in Cartel Prosecution

Another Regulator Stands Ready with Potentially Huge Fines
Shipping News Feature
AUSTRALIA – JAPAN – The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has laid criminal charges against Japanese RoRo cargo carrier Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), in relation to alleged cartel activity concerning the international shipping of cars, trucks, and buses to Australia between July 2009 and September 2012. K Line isn’t exactly a newcomer to antitrust investigations having been involved in several cases worldwide, having already been fined millions of dollars for similar freight cartel activities elsewhere.

The matter was brought before the Downing Centre Local Court, in Sydney, for a first mention on November 15. This is the second matter in which criminal charges have been laid against a corporation under the criminal cartel provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, the first being K Line’s national competitor Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) which pled guilty earlier this year to colluding with other carriers to restrain international RoRo trade.

As regular readers will be aware NYK and K Line, together with fellow Japanese shipping line MOL, recently agreed to bring the three companies container freight operations under one new company management. It appears that, whilst known as fierce competitors, the two lines may have already had a degree of collusion in the field of RoRo transport.

K Line is a global organisation with offices in Europe, Africa, Northeast Asia, South East Asia, Japan, North America, Central America, South America, India, the Middle East, and Oceania (including Australia). It has over 7,000 employees and its headquarters is in Tokyo. It also has an Australian subsidiary, K-Line (Australia) Pty Ltd.