Japanese Vehicle Shipping Trio in China’s Antitrust Probe

Japan’s three shipping companies specializing in vehicle transportation are being scrutinized by China’s National Development and Reform Commission due to alleged monopolistic practices.

The companies under the spotlight of the investigation are Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) and Nippon Yusen KK (NYK), among several other companies, as they hold a major stake in the Chinese market, Bloomberg reports citing people familiar with the matter.

As informed, the Commission has asked the Japanese companies to investigate the allegations internally and report back the findings to China.

The investigation comes after three corporations agreed to plead guilty and to pay criminal fines totaling more than USD 136 million in the United States.

These include NYK, which has agreed to pay a criminal fine of USD 59.4 million and K-Line which agreed to pay a fine of USD 67.7 million having pleaded guilty of violating US antitrust laws.

Mitsui OSK Lines reached a deal with US Federal Maritime Commission, agreeing to pay USD 1.3m to resolve anti trust law breach allegations brought by the FMC against MOL and its corporate affiliate Nissan Motor Car Carrier.

Both K Line and NYK saw some of their executives being fined and jailed by US courts for price fixing.

China’s move follows a similar investigation by Japan’s Fair Trade Commission and the European Union in 2012, when prmises of several providers of maritime-transport services for cars and construction and agricultural rolling machinery were raided including those of Eukor Car Carriers Inc, MOL, NYK and Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA.

World Maritime News Staff