Shipping liner hit with R95m fine for price fixing

Cape Town – The Competition Commission has penalised a Norwegian shipping liner with a R95.66m fine after it admitted to price fixing, market allocation and collusive tendering on Thursday.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) reached an agreement with the commission after it admitted to contravening the Competition Act in the market for the provision of transportation of motor vehicles to and from South Africa by sea, the commission said in a statement on Thursday.

This comes after the commission penalised Japanese shipping liner Nippon Yusen Kabushiki (NYK) with a R104m fine on June 30 2015.

This settlement followed the commission’s investigation of collusive conduct against shipping liners, including WWL, which allegedly fixed prices, divided markets and tendered collusively in respect of the provision of deep sea transportation services, the commission said in a statement.

The shipping liners being investigated are: Mitsui O.S.K Lines; Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd; Compania Sud Americana de Vapores; Hoegh Autoliners Holdings AS; andEukor Car Carriers.

“The commission found that WWL colluded on 11 tenders with its competitors in for the transportation of motor vehicles by sea issued by several automotive manufacturers to and from South Africa,” it explained. “WWL admitted to this collusive conduct and agreed to pay an administrative penalty in the amount of R95 695 529.00.”

Deep sea transportation services entail the transportation of motor vehicles, equipment and machinery by sea to and from South Africa.

The commission has filed the settlement agreement with the Tribunal on 30 July 2015 for confirmation as an order of the Tribunal.

The Commission found that NYK colluded on 14 tenders with its competitors for the transportation of motor vehicles by sea issued by several automotive manufacturers to and from South Africa, including BMW, Toyota Motor Corporation, Nissan, and Honda among others.

It also said in June that it would continue investigating the remaining global shipping companies‚ namely: Mitsui OSK Lines‚ based in Japan; Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha‚ based in Japan; Compania Sud Americana de Vapores‚ based in Chile; Höegh Autoliners‚ based in Norway; Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics‚ based in Norway; and Eukor Car Carriers‚ based in South Korea.

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