3 boat operators pay fines for colluding in Robben Island tender

Three companies who ferry passengers between the Robben Island Museum and the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town have entered into settlement agreements on charges of price fixing and collusive tendering, the Competition Tribunal announced on Wednesday evening.
 
An investigation by the Competition Commission, following a complaint from Robben Island Museum, identified five companies who allegedly colluded on the tender. These companies were Thembekile Maritime Services; Silverbuckle Trade 21 (trading as Yacoob Yatch); Nauticat Charters; Ferry Charters; and Tigger 2 Charters.
 
The Competition Tribunal has confirmed settlement agreements with Thembekile Maritime Service to pay a penalty of R350 000.00; Silverbuckle to pay a penalty of R249 171.72; and Nauticat Charters to pay a penalty of R422 087.87.

The fines are all less than 10% of the firms’ annual turnover.
 
The Commission’s investigation found that around 22 September 2015, the respondents met at the Cape Town Fish Market Coffee Shop where they discussed increasing the prices they would charge the Museum when responding to a tender it issued.

Database

The tender was for bidders to be listed on the Museum’s database as a preferred service provider for a 12-month period.
 
Subsequent to the meeting, Thembekile and Nauticat Charters increased their prices to R18 000 per trip for 140 passengers. Ferry Charters did not alter its price as it was already charging R18 000 per trip for 140 passengers and this resulted in all three quoting the same price.
 
Silverbuckle increased its price per trip from R7 750 to R8 775 for a 65-passenger vessel, while Tigger 2 Charters raised its price per trip from R11 500 to R12 650 for its 65 passenger vessel.
 
The Commission referred this complaint to the Tribunal for adjudication. As part of their settlement, the three firms agreed to cease this kind of conduct and to assist the Commission with its investigation.

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