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Regulator files proceedings against freight forwarders

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Sept 2 NZPA - The Commerce Commission has filed proceedings in the High Court at Auckland against companies accused of anti-competitive conduct in the freight forwarding market.

The commission today said that it started in 2007 investigating alleged collusion by a number of multi-national companies involved in the supply of international freight forwarding services to this country.

That followed a confidential application for leniency by one of the companies involved in the conduct.

The conduct related to alleged agreements about some surcharges and fees on air freight forwarding services both to and from New Zealand.

Those agreements were alleged to have had the effect or likely effect of controlling or maintaining the price of air freight forwarding services in breach of the Commerce Act, the commission said.

Some of the alleged agreements appeared to have been in place since 2001. Cartel investigations into the conduct were continuing in Europe and the United States.

The companies the commission filed proceedings against are:

* a number of companies forming part of the Deutsche Bahn Group and providing freight forwarding services under the DB Schenker brand;

* the Brinks Company and Bax Global Inc, having been part of the BAX Group of companies before it was acquired by the Deutsche Bahn Group;

* Kuehne and Nagel International AG;

* Panalpina World Transport (Holdings) Ltd;

* EGL Inc (part of CEVA Logistics); and

* Geologistics International (Bermuda) Limited.

Some companies under investigation approached the commission seeking settlement negotiations before the proceedings were filed, the commission said.

As a result it had already reached agreement to resolve proceedings with EGL Inc and Geologistics International (Bermuda) Ltd. In both instances the New Zealand subsidiaries -- Eagle Global Logistics (New Zealand) Ltd and Agility Logistics Ltd -- were not implicated.

Further details of those settlements would be announced once they had been reviewed and endorsed by the court.

Commission general manager enforcement Kate Morrison said the investigation was evidence of the continued success of the commission's cartel leniency policy in bringing to light potentially collusive conduct.

The commission pointed out that in 2006 the provision of air freight forwarding services into and out of this country generated revenue of about $450 million. That figure was for the air freight component, which included the air freight charge levied by carriers, carrier imposed surcharges and commissions, and discounts payable to the forwarders.

The proceedings announced today should be distinguished from separate proceedings instituted by the commission against airlines over security and fuel surcharges applied to the international carriage of air cargo in the air cargo industry, it said.

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