India Fines Japanese Car Carrier Companies For Violation Of Competition Act

Authorities in India have fined Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line), Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K-Line), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, and Nissan Motor Car Carrier Company for having created and operated a cartel impacting the maritime motor vehicle transport services operated on multiple trade routes for original equipment manufacturers.

India said the major Japanese car carrier companies were guilty for violations of India’s Competition Act, which prohibits anti-competitive agreements including cartels.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed a total fine of nearly $8.5 million, while also holding libel executives of the companies for the anti-competitive conduct and passing a cease-and-desist order against the illegal cartel.

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The car carriers in the past have been found guilty of similar charges in other countries.

After reviewing all of the evidence, the CCI entered its final order against.

Each of the companies filed applications with the CCI seeking lesser penalties. The largest fine was imposed against Nissan Motor Car Carrier Company and its employees totaling approximately $3.84 million after having been reduced by 30 percent. The fine imposed against K-Line and its employees is approximately $3.24 million, while MOL and its employees were fined approximately $1.35 million after a 50 percent reduction. On review, the ICC decided to reduce by 100 percent the fine against NYK and its employees. The companies were also ordered to stop any cartel actions and not peruse agreements in the future.

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It is not the first time car carrier companies have been found guilty of cartel practices. In 2016, NYK plead guilty in Australia to criminal cartel conduct also related to the shipment of vehicles. In the long-running case in Australia, K-Line also plead guilty to criminal cartel conduct in 2018 and Wallenius Wilhelmsen in 2020. MOL was included in the Australian case which was also said to revolve around a similar “rule of respect.”

South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission also found in 2017 that several companies including MOL, NYK, K-Line, Nissan Motor Car Carrier, Hoegh, Wilhelmsen, and others had breached South Korean antitrust law for car carrier services. The FTC fined nine companies more than $37 million, but in that case, MOL and Nissan Motor Car Carrier Co. were granted leniency and not fined.

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