Wednesday, January 6, 2016

RoRo Cargo Carriers Fined Yet Again After Antitrust Collusion on Freight Rates

Chinese Import and Export Automobile Traffic Targeted Illegally
Shipping News Feature
CHINA – WORLDWIDE – Last week, China imposed fines totalling ¥407 million ($60 million+) on several international RoRo cargo carriers over allegations that they colluded together to fix freight rates on the shipment of automobiles to and from China. Following the year-long investigation by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Japan’s NYK, MOL, K Line and Eastern Car Liner, Korea’s Eukor Car Carriers, Norway’s Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL), Chile’s CSAV and CCNI, all admitted to wrongdoing but NYK came out smelling of roses after being granted full immunity for having ‘fully cooperated with the investigation’.

The penalties imposed are equivalent to 4% to 9% of the companies’ international shipping sales related to China for the 2014 financial year. With NYK essentially coming out with just a slap on the wrist, some other companies found that cooperating with the investigation at an early stage can also really help to lower the resultant fine with both K Line and MOL granted differing levels of leniency. As a result, K Line received a ¥23 million penalty (around $3.6 million), equal to 4% of the company’s China sales, and MOL received ¥38 million fine (approximately $5.8 million), equivalent to 7% of the company’s sales.

Eukor ended up with by far the largest fine of ¥284 million (approx. $43 million), 9% of the 2014 region sales, with WWL receiving an 8% levy of ¥45 million (around $6.8 million). CSAV, Eastern Car Liner and CCNI were sentenced to 6%, 5%, and 4% respectively, equal to ¥3 million, ¥11 million, and ¥1 million (approx. $470,000, $1.7 million, and $180,000).

Some of the companies involved in this China antitrust case have been heavily fined in the past by regulators in the US, Europe, Chile, South Africa, and Japan, for similar offences. NYK had previously been granted leniency in Chile, the authorities cutting its fine by 50% with CSAV coincidentally given full leniency by regulators in its native land. In Japan’s last investigation MOL, again another local national corporation, also received full immunity resulting in zero fines for the company.