Horizon Lines has agreed to pay $13.75 million to settle claims by all remaining significant shippers who opted out of an antitrust class action settlement over price-fixing in the U.S. mainland-Puerto Rico trade.
“We are very pleased with this settlement, which brings to closure our last known major financial exposure relating to antitrust claims involving the Puerto Rico trade lane,” said Michael T. Avara, executive vice president and chief financial officer. “It also eliminates the potential for protracted and costly litigation.”
The civil antitrust lawsuits were filed against Horizon and other Puerto Rico carriers in 2008 after news of a federal criminal investigation of carrier price-fixing.
Horizon and Sea Star Line accepted guilty pleas and fines in the criminal investigation. Five former executives of the companies pleaded guilty to antitrust conspiracy or concealing evidence. Former Sea Star President Frank Peake was indicted this month in the case.
Horizon, Sea Star and Crowley Maritime agreed to pay a total of $52.75 million to settle the civil class actions filed by direct purchasers of their services between May 2002 and April 2008. Numerous shippers opted out of the deal. Horizon previously announced it had come to terms with several of the largest opt-out shippers.
Under the settlement with the remaining shippers, Horizon Lines will pay $5.75 million within 10 business days of the Nov. 23 effective date, and make additional payments of $4 million each by June 30, and Dec. 24, 2012.