Singapore's Competition Commission (CCS) has issued a provisional notice to 11 forwarders operating services to the country from Japan that they have infringed section 34 of its competition laws.
The companies include the principals and subsidiaries of Deutsche Post; Hankyu Hanshin Express; "K" Line Logistics; Kintetsu World Express, MOL Logistics; Nippon Express; Nishi-Nippon Railroad; Nissin Corporation; Vantec Corporation; Yamato Holdings; and Yusen Logistics.
DHL singaporeCCS says it began the probe after receiving an application for immunity from one of the companies in the alleged cartel. Subsequent investigation concluded the "forwarders attended meetings in Japan where they exchanged information, discussed and agreed on certain fees and surcharges in relation to airfreight forwarding services for shipments from Japan to other countries, including Singapore."
The 11 forwarders have 35 working days to respond to the notice after which the commission will make a final decision on the possible infringement.
According to the CCS, cartel activities include, amongst others, agreements between businesses to fix prices, to rig competitive bidding processes, to divide up markets and to restrict production. The commission says businesses found participating in cartel agreements are likely to incur "sizable" financial penalties. Depending on its behaviour, the CCS says a whistleblower can be entitled to full immunity if it has not begun an investigation or up to a 100 percent reduction in penalties if it has.