Cartel in the maritime transport of vehicles sector, the Commission imposes fines amounting to 395 million euro

For almost 6 years between 2006 and 2012, a group of maritime carriers, namely CSAV, “K” Line, MOL, NYK and WWL-EUKOR, took part in a cartel concerning the market for deep sea transport of new cars, trucks and other large vehicles on various routes between Europe and other continents.

The Commission’s investigation revealed that, to coordinate anticompetitive behavior, the carriers’ sales managers met on a regular basis and were also regularly in contact over the phone. In particular, they coordinated prices, allocated customers and exchanged commercially sensitive information about elements of the price, such as charges and surcharges added to prices to offset currency or oil prices fluctuations.

To maintain the status quo in the market and to respect each other’s traditional business on certain routes or with certain customers, carriers agreed to quote artificially high prices or not quote at all in tenders issued by vehicle manufacturers.

The Commission’s investigation started with an immunity application submitted by MOL. During its investigation, the Commission cooperated with several competition authorities around the world.

On the basis of the Commission Notice on Immunity from fines and reduction of fines in cartel cases of 2006 and the Commission Notice on the conduct of settlement procedures in view of the adoption of Decisions pursuant to Article 7 and Article 23 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 in cartel cases of 2008, the Commission granted MOL full immunity for revealing the existence of the cartel, while the remaining carriers benefited from reductions of their fines for their cooperation with the Commission.

The fines imposed to each carrier amount to

  • MOL: 0 euro.
  • NYK: 141,820,000 euro.
  • “K” Line: 39,100,000 euro.
  • WWL-EUKOR: 207,335,000 euro.
  • CSAV: 7,033,000 euro.

The European Commission press release is available at the following LINK.


Davide Scavuzzo