NYK and “K” Line admit anti-competition charges

A Canadian court has fined Japanese car carriers NYK and “K” Line a total of C$2m in connection with a probe into market collusion.

Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K” Line) each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy under Canada’s Competition Act. On August 17th the Ontario Superior Court on sentenced both companies, with NYK being fined C$1.5m (US$1.1m) and “K” Line fined C$460,000. Canadian officials noted that the two shipping lines received leniency in sentencing owing to their cooperation with the Competition Bureau’s investigation.

The case was historic, dating back to 2008. The companies admitted agreeing with certain suppliers to increase the base freight rates they proposed to certain vehicle manufacturers in Japan for the supply of roll-on/roll-off services for shipments to Canada. Both companies pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy. Previous cases in other jurisdictions showed that the different car carrier companies had worked together to set minimum pricing, reviewing contracts, and agreeing not to compete with each other when a manufacturer’s shipping contract was up for renewal.

K Line also pleaded guilty to one count of bid-rigging, admitting to entering into a bid-rigging agreement. They admitted having worked with competition for a General Motors tender for RoRo shipping services, including routes from South Korea to Canada, for contracts covering the period from 2011 to 2012.