10 freight forwarders on Japan-Singapore route penalised $7.15m for price fixing

Singapore's competition watchdog has imposed a total of $7.15 million in penalties on 10 freight forwarders and their subsidiaries here for engaging in cartel activities to fix prices. An 11th firm escaped financial penalty. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Singapore's competition watchdog has imposed a total of $7.15 million in penalties on 10 freight forwarders and their subsidiaries here for engaging in cartel activities to fix prices. An 11th firm escaped financial penalty. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore's competition watchdog has imposed a total of $7.15 million in penalties on 10 freight forwarders and their subsidiaries here for engaging in cartel activities to fix prices. An 11th firm escaped financial penalty.

This is the second international cartel case involving foreign-registered companies and their Singapore subsidiaries dealt with by the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS).

It found that 11 freight forwarders infringed Section 34 of the Competition Act by collectively fixing certain fees and surcharges, and exchanging customer and price information for freight forwarding services for shipments on the Japan-Singapore route.

Both the Japanese and related Singapore companies were found to be jointly and severally liable for the infringement.

The firm involved were DHL Global Forwarding, Hankyu Hanshin, "K" Line Logistics, Kinetsu World Express, MOL Logistics, Nippon Express, NNR, Nissin, Vantec, Yamato and Yusen.

DHL Global escaped a penalty as it qualified for full immunity under CCS's leniency programme.

CCS chief executive Mr Toh Han Li told a briefing today: "Price fixing among competitors is considered one of the most harmful types of anti-competitive conduct."

He added: "It distorts the terms of trade between the cartelists and their customers, with the latter not being able to enjoy competitively determined rates. As an open economy, Singapore businesses are vulnerable to such international cartels."