Source: Wallenius Wilhelmsen.
Market Herald logo

Subscribe

Be the first with the news that moves the market
  • Norwegian shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean (WWO) has been ordered to pay a $24 million fine after it was convicted of engaging in criminal cartel activity
  • The Federal Court found that WWO had colluded with other shipping companies to transport cars, trucks and buses to Australia between June 2011 and July 2012
  • By allocating major vehicle manufacturing customers between themselves, the cartel was able to distort the competitive setting of freight rates
  • In addition to WWO, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha was fined $25 million in August 2017, while K-Line was fined $34.5 million in August 2019
  • The prosecution signals the end of a major investigation by the ACCC, which handed out $83.5 million in fines

Norwegian shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean (WWO) has been ordered to pay a $24 million fine after it was convicted of engaging in criminal cartel activity.

Australia’s Federal Court found yesterday that WWO — which operates 130 vessels on multiple trade routes covering six continents — had colluded with other shipping companies to transport cars, trucks and buses to Australia between June 2011 and July 2012.

WWO and the other companies are accused of allocating major vehicle manufacturing customers between themselves, which Justice Wigney found had the ability to distort the competitive setting of freight rates, likely impacting prices paid by Australian consumers in the process.

“On just about any view, this was an extremely serious offence against Australia’s laws which prohibit cartel conduct,” he said, adding that WWO’s conduct was covert, deliberate, systematic, and involved planning and deliberation.

The prosecution brings to an end an extensive investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and brings the total amount fined to $83.5 million.

In August 2017, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha was fined $25 million, while K-Line was fined $34.5 million in August 2019, which remains the largest criminal fine ordered under the Competition and Consumer Act.

“The ACCC’s investigation into this cartel, which was assisted by the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Japan Fair Trade Commission and the European Commission, shows our commitment to tackling criminal cartels and the value of strong networks between competition agencies worldwide,” said ACCC Chair Rod Sims.

“International cartel investigations can be challenging and complicated because parties, witnesses and other evidence are located overseas. We are grateful for the excellent cooperation with our international counterparts,” he added.

More From The Market Herald

" Inflation hits 3.5 per cent, pressure grows on RBA

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) climbed 1.3 per cent in the December 2021 quarter and 3.5…

" Deloitte: Australian business leaders “more concerned than ever before” about climate change

Almost three-quarters of Australian executives see the world at a tipping point for responding to climate…

" Australian investors funnelled pandemic savings into managed funds over 2021: Calastone

Australian investors funnelled record amounts of cash into managed funds over 2021 as pandemic savings worked…

" Tasmania continues to be the best-performing economy: CommSec

Tasmania continues to lead the rankings as the best-performing state economy in Australia, according to the…