Second Japanese shipping firm admits to cartel conduct in Australian court

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K-Line) has pleaded guilty to criminal cartel conduct in the transport of vehicles, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), making K-Line the second Japanese shipping company to admit to cartel behaviour.

The admission related to the shipping of cars, trucks and buses to Australia between 2009 and 2012, the ACCC said

Last year Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) was convicted by the Australian Federal Court and fined A$25m (US$20m) for its part in the activity. Australian law only criminalized in 2009 the cartel behaviour for which K-Line accepted responsibility.

K-Line in Tokyo confirmed to Reuters that the ACCC announcement was true, but declined to comment further as it said that the case was ongoing.

ACCC said that the matter against K-Line would proceed to sentencing and was next scheduled for a hearing in the Australian Federal Court in November.

The penalty for cartel conduct under Australian competition law is A$10m, or triple the benefit attributed to the offence, or 10% of the corporation’s annual turnover in Australia, whichever is the greater. ACCC also said that its investigation into other alleged and as yet unnamed cartel participants would continue.