Shipping Companies Collude, Break Anti-Monopoly Law, and Receive Staggering Fines
Chinese regulators have fined seven major international shipping companies 407 million yuan ($65 million) — the equivalent of 4% to 9% of the firm’s international shipping sales to and from China — for fixing prices after a 12-month investigation.
The fines come after a year-long investigation. According to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Korean, Japanese, and European shipping companies that carry vehicles coordinated together to raise the rates on shipments of cars, trucks, and construction machinery to avoid competition on routes that link China, Europe, North America, and Latin America. According to the NDRC, executives from the firms met over a period of four years to share information and create deals.
Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Eastern Car Liner, South Korea’s Eukor Car Carriers, Norway’s Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, Chile’s Compania Sud Americana de Vapores, and a separate shipping subsidiary within CSAV were all fined. South Korea’s Eukor received the largest fine, to the tune of $45 million.
The investigation found that the companies had broken China’s 2008 anti-monopoly law, which serves “the purpose of preventing and restraining monopolistic conducts, protecting fair competition in the market, enhancing economic efficiency, safeguarding the interests of consumers and social public interest, promoting the healthy development of the socialist market economy,” reads the law’s first article.
Transportation is one of the world’s largest industries, with sectors ranging from taxis to trucks, airplanes, trains, courier services, ships, barges, warehouses and logistics services. Consequently, the crackdown has affected several sectors, including automakers, dairy, and technology suppliers in an attempt to keep prices down for Chinese consumers.
“We will do everything possible to avoid similar situations going forward,” said Eukor CEO Craig Jasienski in a statement, adding the company was glad the investigation had come to an end.