WWO latest charged in Australian ro-ro probe

WWO latest charged in Australian ro-ro probe

WWO is the latest carrier to be charged in Australia’s ongoing probe into alleged cartel activity involving ro-ro deliveries between June 2011 and July 2012. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.

Norwegian carrier Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean has become the latest shipping company to be charged in Australia with alleged cartel conduct involving roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) activity, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said Friday.

“The charge relates to alleged cartel conduct concerning the international shipping of certain vehicles to Australia between June 2011 and July 2012,” the ACCC said in a statement.

WWO’s first court hearing is scheduled for August 29.

The commission said its investigation is continuing, but declined to comment further on the WWO case, saying "it is a criminal matter currently before the court.”

"What has been announced today is the first step in the formal legal proceedings,” WWO spokesperson Carine Møller Mortensen told JOC.com. “We are cooperating fully with the ACCC and will continue to work with the normal processes of the court to bring this matter to a conclusion."

Japan-based carrier “K” Line was fined A$34.5 million ($23.5 million) by Australia’s Federal Court earlier this month after being convicted of operating a cartel for the purpose of fixing prices on the transportation of trucks, buses, and cars. Fellow Japanese line NYK was fined A$25 million in August 2017 as part of the same investigation. WWO is alleged to have participated in the same cartel as the two Japanese firms. 

"When the investigations into the car carrying industry started in 2012, we immediately took action to strengthen the organization, policies, processes and training to ensure full compliance with competition law," WWO's Møller Mortensen said. 

"We are committed to fair and open competition and will continue to take the necessary steps to meet the highest ethical standards," she added. 

Contact Keith Wallis at keithwallis@hotmail.com.