NZ courts fine three freight forwarders

ALL eyes have been on the Department of Justice proceedings against price-fixing airlines in the US, but meanwhile in New Zealand freight forwarders are under fire for similar charges.

The High Court (pictured right) in Auckland has ordered BAX Global, which is being integrated with DB Schenker, to pay NZ$1.4 million (US$1.15 million), DB Schenker NZ$1.1 million ($901,000) and Panalpina NZ$2.7 million ($2.21 million) for their roles in the cartel.

Investigations against the freight forwarders for alleged collusion in the supply of international freight forwarding services to the national market began in 2007.

These penalties are in addition to penalties already imposed by the court for similar conduct in the freight forwarding industry following settlements reached with EGL and GeoLogistics International (Bermuda).

The total cartel penalties imposed to date are NZ$8.85 million.

“We are confident the industry has been sent a very strong message that collusion to fix prices is unacceptable,” Commerce Commission general manager of enforcement Kate Morrison said. “Being so far from our world markets, competitive pricing by the freight forwarding industry is extremely important to the competitiveness of New Zealand industries.”

On 12 May, Qantas became the first airline in the court’s firing line, ordered to pay a record NZ$6.5 million ($5.3 million) fine. Airlines continuing to defend the charges are Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Japan Airlines International, Korean Air Lines, Malaysian Airlines, Singapore Airlines Cargo and Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways.

The Commission’s freight forwarding cartel case continues against Kuehne + Nagel.

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