Japan reviews cartel charges

JAPAN’S Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) has announced that it will review its earlier rulings against five international freight forwarders for pricefixing.

The announcement comes after the five companies – K Line Logistics, Nishi-Nippon Railroad, Nissin, Vantec and Yusen Air & Sea Service – filed strong complaints about the JFTC’s accusations.

Following investigations into other freight forwarders and cargo operators around the world, which started in October last year, the JFTC had launched a series of surprise raids on 13 logistics and freight forwarding companies and the Japan Aircargo Forwarders Association earlier this year. It alleged that the 13 – which hold a combined share of around 75 per cent of Japan’s air cargo market – had been operating as a cartel since around 2004, in violation of anti-monopoly laws. In particular they fixed rates, and fuel and security surcharges, in meetings at the Japan Aircargo Forwarders Association.

The JFTC ordered 12 of the companies to pay nearly Y9 billion (US$94.7 million). Of those, seven accepted the cease-and-desist and fine orders, namely Hankyu Hanshin Express Holdings, Hanshin Air Cargo, Kintetsu World Express, MOL Logistics (Japan), Nippon Express, United Aircargo Consolidators and Yamato Global Logistics Japan.

The first hearing for K Line Logistics, Nishi-Nippon Railroad, Vantec and Yusen will take place on 6 August while Nissin’s will be held on 25 August.

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