Charges pile up against Japanese car shipping company

Pretoria - A Japanese car shipping company is facing a further 10 charges after it was recently referred to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution for collusive tendering, price fixing and market division.

The Competition Commission has referred 10 more charges against Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd (K-Line) to the Tribunal for adjudication. The Commission is also seeking administrative penalties of 10% of the company’s annual turnover for each of the additional 10 charges.

In March, the Commission referred its first case against K-Line to the Tribunal. The matter relates to price fixing, market division and collusive tendering practices involving the transportation of cars produced by Toyota South Africa Motors, by sea.

The latest charges against K-Line involve the following: 

  1. Collusive activities around 2011 involving a tender issued by Toyota Motors Asia Pacific to transport Toyota vehicles from India to South Africa by sea;
  2. Collusive activities around 2002 in relation to tenders issued by Toyota Motor Corporation and Ford Motor Company to transport Toyota and Ford cars from Japan to West Africa and South Africa to West Africa by sea;
  3. Collusive activities around 2008 relating to a tender issued by BMW for the transportation of BMW cars from South Africa to North America by sea;
  4. Collusive activities around 2008 in respect of tenders issued by Daimler to transport Mercedes motor vehicles from South Africa to North America by sea;
  5. Collusive activities during or about 2010 in respect of tenders issued by Honda to transport Honda cars from Thailand to South Africa by sea;
  6. Prohibited practices around 2010 relating to a tender issued by Mitshubishi Motor Company to transport Mitshubishi cars from Japan and Thailand to South Africa;
  7. Prohibited practices in relation to a tender issued by Nissan to transport their cars from India to South Africa by sea;
  8. Prohibited practices around 2009 in respect of a global tender issued by Nissan Motor Corporation (through its purchasing company, Renault-Nissan Purchasing Organisation) for the shipment of Nissan cars from South Africa to Europe (including North Africa and the Mediterranean) by sea;
  9. During or about 2011-2013, prohibited practices in respect of a tender issued by Maruti Suzuki for the transportation of Suzuki motor vehicles from India to Africa (including South Africa) by sea; and
  10. Prohibited practices around 2006 involving a tender issued by Suzuki (through its trading arm Sojitz Logistics) for the transportation of Suzuki cars from Japan to South Africa by sea.

To date, three companies have paid a total of more than R215 million in administrative penalties in this matter. In 2015 and 2016 NYK, WWL and Eukor Car Carriers (Eukor) admitted to colluding on these tenders and settled with the Commission.  

MOL, another Japanese company, was not fined, as it was first to approach the Commission and cooperated. MOL, NYK, WWL and Eukor will cooperate with the Commission in prosecuting K-Line. – SAnews.gov.za