Car shipping majors are facing another class action complaint by vehicle shippers who have taken their case before the United States Federal Maritime Commission.
Companies being targeted by the complaint are led by Japanese RORO giants NYK Line, Mitsui O.S.K., “K” Line, followed by World Logistics Service (U.S.A.), Eukor Car Carriers, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, CSAV, Höegh Autoliners, Autotrans and Nissan Motor Car Carrier Corp.
Complainants allege that the companies violated provisions of the Shipping Act of 1984, because they ‘‘participated in a combination and conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition in the Vehicle Carrier Services market by agreeing to fix, raise, stabilize and/or maintain the prices of, and allocation [sic] the market and customers for Vehicle Carrier Services sold to vehicle manufacturers (‘‘OEMs’’) in the United States and elsewhere for the import and export of new, assembled vehicles to and from the United States.’’
As a result, complainants request that after due investigation they be awarded reparations in a sum to be determined in the proceedings, with interest along with reasonable attorneys’ fees.
In addition, the class action seeks that the RoRo companies be found jointly and severally liable for the conduct.
Based on the filing, the initial decision of the presiding officer in the proceeding is expected by April 28, 2017 and the final decision of the FMC by November 13, 2017.
The class action against the RoRo liners follows a similar investigation launched by Brazilian authorities earlier this year under suspicion that nine car shipping companies were involved in “an international cartel”, as they are believed to had colluded on customer allocation and price fixing.
Companies included in the investigation are K Line, NYK and Chile’s CSAV who agreed to cooperate in the investigation along with Grimaldi Group, Höegh Autoliners and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, Nissan Motor Car Carriers and MOL as well as Eukor Car Carriers.
World Maritime News Staff