15 June 2011

Forwarders Fined Millions

The High Court of New Zealand approved a set of fines on price-fixing forwarders:

* Schenkers (a German State-owned company): $1.1m
* BAX (now a division of Schenkers): $1.4m
* Panalpina (a Swiss company): $2.7m

Settlements had already been reached for similar conduct with EGL and Geologistics International and the total cartel penalties imposed to date by the courts is $8.85m.

Kuehne & Nagel is still to have its day in Court.

The forwarders got together and conspired to charge agreed amounts for security costs imposed by US and UK authorities and to introduce a currency adjustment factor following a decision by the People’s Bank of China to stop pegging the local currency to the US dollar.

Justice Allan commented that the surcharge agreements were “part of a sustained course of conduct involving covert meetings and communications.” He also noted that the conduct occurred in “a market of fundamental importance to New Zealand.”

Schenkers has spent more than US$55 million worldwide dealing with regulatory authorities and created a mandatory web-based training facility for its employees globally. The Importers Institute hopes that the message will get through and congratulates the Commerce Commission on these successful prosecutions.

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