The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed fines totalling more than ₹63 crore on three maritime transport companies — Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Limited (K-Line), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Limited (MOL) and Nissan Motor Car Carrier Company (NMCC) — and individuals concerned for indulging in cartelisation.
The watchdog passed an order against K-Line, MOL, NMCC and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha for cartelisation with respect to maritime motor vehicle transport services provided to automobile Original Equipment Manufacturers for various trade routes. The regulator also directed them to cease and desist from anti-competitive practices.
The evaluation of available evidence revealed that there was an agreement between NYK Line, K-Line, MOL and NMCC with the objective of enforcement of “Respect Rule”, which implied avoiding competition with each other and protecting the business of the incumbent carrier with the respective OEM. To achieve the said objective, the maritime transport companies resorted to multi-lateral as well as bilateral contacts/ meetings/ e-mails with each other to share commercially sensitive information which, inter alia, included freight rates. They also aimed to preserve their position in the market and maintain or increase prices, including by resisting requests for price reduction from certain OEMs.
The Commission also passed a cease-and-desist order asking the firms to refrain from the behavior that was found to be anti-competitive.Source: CCI