Norway's Wallenius Wilhelmsen, a major global ocean carrier of vehicles, now faces a criminal prosecution in Australia after the local competition regulator filed charges against it.
"Following continuing investigations by the ACCC, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean AS (WWO), a Norwegian-based global shipping company, has today been charged with criminal cartel conduct. The charge relates to alleged cartel conduct concerning the international shipping of certain vehicles to Australia between June 2011 and July 2012," the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) said in a statement on Aug. 23.
"This is the third prosecution involving an international shipping company engaging in alleged cartel conduct where criminal charges have been laid," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.
The ACCC added that this cartel has been investigated and prosecuted in several countries, including the United States. There also have been multimillion dollar fines around the world, including in Europe, South Korea and South America.
As previously reported in FreightWaves, there was an international cartel of ocean shipping carriers of vehicles that included "K" Line, Mitsui, NYK, Eukor and Wallenius.
The cartel ran from 1997 to 2012 and was shut down after a series of raids on the offices of the shipping companies by the Japan Fair Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice.
The cartel members reportedly agreed to fix and maintain their market share in existing business. They also agreed to fix freight rates and to share competitive information, according to court documents. They clearly knew that such behavior was illegal as they tried to cover up their activities by destroying communications. At least one company in the cartel also trained its employees in competition (antitrust law).
Wallenius Wilhelmsen has been contacted for comment on the ACCC's announcement, and FreightWaves will update this story if the company responds.
Image Sourced from Pixabay
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