China fines shipping firms $65mn over price fixing

Kwai Chung Container Terminals in Hong Kong © Bobby Yip
After a year-long investigation, Chinese regulators have fined seven international shipping companies $65 million (407 million yuan) for fixing prices.

According to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), over a period of at least four years the companies coordinated to raise rates on shipments of cars, trucks, and construction machinery. They aimed to avoid competition on routes linking China with Europe, North America and Latin America.

The companies fined include Japan's Mitsui OSK Lines, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Eastern Car Liner, South Korea's Eukor Car Carriers, Norway's Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, Chile's Compania Sud Americana de Vapores, and a separate shipping subsidiary within CSAV.

NDRC said that the companies broke China's anti-monopoly law; it imposed fines of four to nine percent of their revenues related to Chinese business.

South Korea’s Eukor got the biggest fine of $45 million.

“We will do everything possible to avoid similar situations going forward," Craig Jasienski, CEO of Eukor said in a statement, adding the company was glad the investigation had come to an end.

Japan's Nippon Yusen was not required to pay a penalty for cooperating with investigators.