Susman Godfrey, an American antitrust litigation firm, has filed a class action against some of the world’s largest maritime vehicle shipping companies, alleging price fixing of carrier services, following raids against the carriers by competition authorities in Japan, the European Union and the U.S.
Car buyers who shipped vehicles manufactured overseas to the U.S. allege the defendants conspired to fix shipping prices, resulting in inflated charges, which automobile manufacturers and dealers passed on to buyers and lessees.
The defendants include Wilh. Wilhelmsen, Wallenius Willhelmsen Logistics, NYK Line, "K" Line and Eukor Car Carriers, which collectively control about 70 percent of the global car shipping market, according to Susman Godfrey. Wilh. Wilhelmsen owns 50 percent of WWL and 40 percent of Eukor.
“Over the past few years, cooperation among global antitrust enforcement agencies has dramatically increased, leading to coordinated investigations like we see in the vehicle carrier case and record fines,” Warren Burns, a Susman Godfrey partner and the lead attorney on the case, said in a written statement. “The conspiracy at the heart of the vehicle carrier case may be global in reach, but its effects have directly impacted American consumers.”