South Korea's antitrust watchdog Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has imposed a combined 43 billion won (US$37.8 million) in fines on nine global auto shipping companies for bid rigging and price fixing, reported Yonhap.
According to the FTC, the nine car shipping companies colluded between August 2002 and September 2012 in global biddings offered by car manufacturers that they should “respect” existing contracts of one another so as not to compete.
The nine car shipping companies are Japan’s Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Nissan Motor Car Carrier and Eastern Car Liner, Norway’s Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics and Hoegh Autoliners, Chile’s Compania Sudamericana de Vapores S.A. and Korea’s Eukor Car Carriers.
One of the Norwegian companies, Hoegh, was exempt from the fine. The commission said it couldn’t confirm that Hoegh made any profit off the collusion. It was also excluded from the referral to prosecutors along with ZIM because the claim is based on accusations of unfair market distribution.
The Fair Trade Commission claimed the companies colluded for 10 years since August 2002, when top executives from each company agreed to respect each other’s cargo contracts and routes.
Nine companies, excluding ZIM, were said to have helped each other retain their contracts with automakers including BMW, GM Korea, Renault Samsung Motors and Volvo by either sitting out bids or proposing a price so high that the manufacturer would opt to keep its contractor.