Höegh Autoliners Faces Price Fixing Charges

The Norwegian car shipping company Höegh Autoliners has been referred to the Competition Tribunal of South Africa for prosecution on seven charges relating to collusive tendering, price fixing and market division.

The charges come on the back of a probe into widespread anti-competitive conduct in the market for the provision of transportation of motor vehicles, equipment and machinery by sea to and from South Africa, according to the country’s Competition Commission.

Höegh Autoliners was accused of colluding with Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K Lines Ltd (MOL) from around 2009, when the two companies allegedly engaged in prohibited practices in that they agreed and/or engaged in concerted practices as competitors to fix prices, divide markets and tender collusively.

The Commission said that the charges entail a number of collusive activities from 1997 to 2010 to ship motor vehicles from Thailand, Japan and India to South Africa, from South Africa to Europe, North Africa and North America, as well as to Europe.

MOL previously approached the Commission in terms of its Corporate Leniency Policy and was subsequently granted leniency for its involvement in the cartel conduct in exchange for information and full cooperation in the matter.

In referring the matter against Höegh to the Tribunal for adjudication, the Commission is seeking an order declaring that the company is liable for the payment of an administrative penalty equal to 10% of its annual turnover on each of the charges.

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