China is going after container shipping lines for freight rate abuses. The Chinese Ministry of Transport has fined a total of $65 million on price-fixing charges.
The National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement that the imposed fines are equivalent to 4% to 9% of their international shipping sales “concerning transport to and from China". The investigation lasted for more than a year, the NDRC said.
Japan's Nippon Yusen KK, Mitsui OSK lines, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Eastern Car Liner, Korea's Eukor Car Carriers, Norway's Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, Chile's Cia Sud Americana de Vapores and its shipping line were the eight indicted after a year-long investigation.
Investigators found shippers improperly coordinated bids and routes to keep prices high, the Cabinet's planning agency said. Japan's NYK, was found to have colluded but was spared a fine.
The biggest penalty of 284 million yuan ($45 million) was imposed on EUKOR Car Carriers Inc., according to the National Development and Reform Commission. Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, a Swedish-Norwegian company, was fined 45 million yuan ($7.1 million).
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. was fined 38 million yuan ($6 million). Other companies penalized were Japan's K Line and Eastern Car Liner Ltd. and Chile's CSAV and CCNI.
This is part of China's effort to end anti-competitive behavior in the auto industry and heavy machinery.
The probe follows similar investigations by the European Union in 2013 and Japan's Fair Trade Commission.