NYK Fined for Price Fixing

NYK vessel
Photo credit: JAXPORT, Meredith Fordham Hughes

By Wendy Laursen 2015-06-30 19:55:59

The South African Competition Commission has reached a settlement agreement with Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) for contravening the nation’s Competition Act.

NYK admitted to collusive conduct and agreed to pay an administrative penalty of R104 million ($8.5 million).

The settlement followed the commission’s investigation into the activities of the shipping companies: 
Mitsui O.S.K Lines; 
Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha; 
Compania Sud Americana de Vapores; 
Hoegh Autoliners Holdings; 
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics; 
Eukor Car Carriers; 
and NYK.

The commission alleged that the companies fixed prices, divided markets and tendered collusively in respect of the provision of deep sea transportation services entailing the transport of motor vehicles, equipment and machinery by sea to and from South Africa.

The commission found that NYK colluded on 14 tenders with its competitors for the transport 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. 

The Commission’s investigation is continuing into the activities of the rest of the companies. 

Fined in the U.S.

NYK agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $59.4 million criminal fine in the U.S. in December last year for its involvement in a conspiracy to fix prices, allocate customers and rig bids. 

According to a one-count felony charge, NYK conspired to suppress and eliminate competition for the sale of international ocean shipments of roll-on, roll-off cargo to and from the U.S. and elsewhere, including the Port of Baltimore. The U.S. Department of Justice stated that NYK participated in the conspiracy from at least February 1997 until at least September 2012.  

NYK was the third company to agree to plead guilty in the investigation, bringing the total agreed-upon fines to over $135 million.