On 23rd of March, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) of Brazil condemned the company Hotgh Autoliners Holdings AS and an individual for the practice of international cartel, with effects in Brazil, in the market for maritime transportation of automobiles — performed by Roll On Roll Off (RoRo) vessels. The fines imposed amout to R$ 26.4 million.
The RoRo is a type of ship specialized in transporting loads capable of going up and down on board by their own locomotor means through ramps. These loads can be transported on wheels (cars, buses, trucks, tractors, etc.) or on vehicles (trucks, wheeled platforms, etc.).
The administrative process to investigate the anticompetitive practice was initiated by CADE's General Superintendence in February 2016. In its opinion, the unit presented indications that the collusion would have as its basic purpose to allocate customers, in order to maintain the position established for each carrier with its main buyer, and maintain or increase prices, including joint resistance to customer requests for price reductions.
According to the rapporteur of the case, counselor Luiz Braido, the evidentiary elements were sufficient to prove that the collusive conducts affected private bids, negotiations and contract renegotiations, carried out by vehicle manufacturers with maritime carriers. In his vote, it was shown that the routes that involved Brazil were directly affected by the cartel.
“The conduct was externalized through market division and pricing and commercial conditions. When vehicle manufacturers began the process of contracting or renewing contracts through competition between carriers, the latter, through the exchange of sensitive information, set prices and divided the market. This practice influenced private bids by vehicle manufacturers, who sought to hire maritime transport on routes in which Brazil was the origin, destination or stopover”,
said the rapporteur.
The plenary also unanimously decided to close the case in relation to the companies Mitsui OSK Lines, Nissan Motor Car Carriers, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, Compañia Sud Americana de Vapores, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, Eukor Car Carriers and 54 people. companies that signed agreements with the municipality.
Through the Cessation Commitment Terms (TCCs), the investigated undertook to suspend anticompetitive practices and to pay more than BRL 29 million in pecuniary contributions, to be collected from the Diffuse Rights Fund (DFF), of the Ministry of Justice and Public security.