Shipping Firms Face Antitrust Fines in Japan

Shipping Firms Face Antitrust Fines in Japan

The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) has decided to impose fines on some shipping firms for allegedly violating the antitrust law in transporting automobiles.

Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line) and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. ("K" Line) issued separate statements on Thursday confirming that they were informed of the decision the same day.

The two shipping firms both said that they have been fully cooperating with JFTC’s investigations since they were raided on Sept. 6, 2012, in the antitrust investigation and that they will scrutinize the details of the decision and consider how to respond to it carefully.

NYK Line also said that it will book an extraordinary loss of ¥13.5 billion ($128 million) related to the case for the current fiscal year, ending on March 31.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) also issued a statement on Thursday confirming that it was notified of the JFTC decision. The Norway-based company also said that it will be fined US$33 million.

Japanese media reports said that JFTC decided to impose fines worth a total of between ¥22 billion and ¥23 billion on four shipping firms, including Nissan Motor Car Carrier Co. as well as NYK Line, “K” Line and WWL.

The four companies are suspected of conspiring to fix the prices of automobile shipments from Japan to North America and Europe, including vehicles made by Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., the media reports said.

Nissan Motor Car Carrier is a subsidiary of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL). MOL is one of Japan’s three largest shipping firms, along with NYK Line and “K” Line. Nissan Motor also has a minority stake in Nissan Motor Car Carrier.