Home News & Events COMPETITION LAW NEWS: A € 169 Million Fine by EU Commission on Freight Forwarders for Four Cartels

COMPETITION LAW NEWS: A € 169 Million Fine by EU Commission on Freight Forwarders for Four Cartels

Saturday, 05 May 2012 20:46

The EU Commission has imposed a fine of € 169 Million based on the EU 2006 Guidelines on fines, on fourteen (14) groups of freight forwarding service companies for partaking in what has been described to be “four distinct cartels aimed at fixing prices” as well as other conditions which are deemed to be in breach of EU competition rules, it has been announced at the end of March 2012. The four cartels which took place over a period of six (6) years between 2002 and 2007, involved the collusion on “surcharges and charging mechanisms concerning important trade lanes, in particular the Europe-USA and the China/Hong Kong-Europe lanes.

Joaquín Almunia, Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy, is said to have remarked that: "In times of crisis, it is all the more important to stamp out the hidden tax that cartels impose on our economy. These cartels affected individuals and companies shipping goods on important trade lanes. Many European exporters and consumers of imported goods may have been harmed as a result. Companies should be aware that crossing the line and colluding on prices comes at a high price, as today's decision illustrates."

Needless to say, those involved in cartels try their utmost to conceal their anti-competitive behaviour and in this case, one of the cartels so fined, participated in what has been dubbed as the "Gardening Club" utilising vegetable names as ‘code names’ when communicating about price fixing.

The four cartels have been identified as the "new export system" or NES cartel, the "advanced manifest system" or AMS cartel, the "currency adjustment factor" or CAF cartel, and the "peak season surcharge" or PSS cartel.

Further Information on: http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/12/314&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en