Sea Star Line and Crowley Maritime will proceed with their parts of a settlement in which they and Horizon Lines agreed to pay shippers a total of $52.25 million to settle allegations of price-fixing in the U.S. mainland-Puerto Rico trade.
Sea Star will pay $18.5 million and Crowley will pay $13.75 million, the companies told a federal court in San Juan. Horizon has until Friday to decide whether to pay its $20 million share of the settlement.
The deadline for the carriers to decide whether to go through with the settlement was extended several times after numerous shippers opted out of the class-action settlement.
Shippers that opted out of the class action are free to pursue individual claims with the carriers. Horizon announced in February it had settled with one of the opt-out shippers, Wal-Mart, for an undisclosed amount.
The class action consolidated 32 civil antitrust lawsuits filed on behalf of cargo interests in the wake of a federal criminal investigation that has netted guilty pleas by five former carrier officials - three from Horizon, two from Sea Star - for antitrust conspiracy or hiding evidence.
Horizon, Sea Star and Crowley agreed this month to settle a separate class-action civil lawsuit filed
on behalf of indirect purchasers, or shippers' customers, who claimed they paid inflated prices because of carrier price-fixing between 2002 and 2008.
The lines agreed to pay $1,766,667 each to settle the indirect purchasers' claims. Plaintiffs' lawyers will collect $1.3 million of the $5.3 million, leaving $4 million for the parties they represented.
Horizon agreed in February to plead guilty to a criminal antitrust violation and pay a $45 million fine. The company said it expects the fine to put Horizon in violation of its debt covenants this year and is working with lenders to obtain waivers or amendments to its bond agreements.