AIR CARGO NEWS EXCLUSIVE – DHL admits to being the ‘whistleblower’

DHL Global Forwarding has admitted that it was the whistleblower that initiated the massive international investigation into illegal anti-competition activities among global freight forwarders. A spokesperson for DHL confirmed to Air Cargo News that it had informed the authorities of its potentially anti-competitive behaviour, sparking the worldwide investigation by anti-trust agencies.It has been long-suspected that DHL was the company that first went to the authorities, allowing it to claim immunity from prosecution and fines.
In a statement the company claims that it “became aware, during the course of an internal investigation that activities potentially raising concerns under the competition laws may have occurred”. It then goes on to state that it has “been granted immunity from prosecution and fines by the European Commission conditional upon DHL Global Forwarding continued cooperation”.DHL issued its statement following the widespread issuing by the EU’s Statement of Objections to major freight forwarders they believe are implicated in the anti-competition investigation. DHL confirmed that it “was among the companies having received a copy of the Statement of Objections”.Further details of the exact nature of the charges were also revealed, with DHL confirming that: “The Statement of Objections concerns alleged coordinated conduct related to different surcharges, none of which is, or relates to, fuel.”The DHL spokesperson confirmed that the surcharges central to the investigation are; new export system surcharge, advance manifest system surcharge, currency adjustment factor and peak season surcharge.It had previously been widely reported that fuel surcharges were at the centre of the anti-competition investigation.DHL also confirmed that its own internal investigation into the activities is continuing and said no decision on disciplinary action against its own staff had yet been made.
The fall-out from the EU Statement of Objections, appears to already have begun, with Panalpina confirming that Robert Frei had stepped down from his position as the head of airfreight (see separate story).

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