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EC fines vehicle shipping and supplies firms for cartel behaviour

By Iain Gilbert

Date: Wednesday 21 Feb 2018

EC fines vehicle shipping and supplies firms for cartel behaviour

(ShareCast News) - The European Commission handed out a total of €546m in fines to car shipping and parts suppliers for anti-competitive behaviour in three separate decisions, with all companies acknowledging their involvement in the cartels and agreeing to settle the cases.
In its role as competition supervisor in the European Union, the EC hit shipping groups CSAV, K-Line, WWL-EUKOR and NYK with a total of €395m in fines for forming a cartel covering the sea transportation of new vehicles. Germany's Bosch and Japanese supplier NGK were slapped with €76m fines for trading information on prices in the spark plug market, with Bosch and Continental being fined an additional €75m for divulging the details of braking systems sales to German car makers.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, head of competition policy, said, "The Commission has sanctioned several companies for colluding in the maritime transport of cars and the supply of car parts. The three separate decisions taken today show that we will not tolerate anticompetitive behaviour affecting European consumers and industries. By raising component prices or transport costs for cars, the cartels ultimately hurt European consumers and adversely impacted the competitiveness of the European automotive sector, which employs around 12 million people in the EU."

The commission claimed the cartel had affected both European car importers and customers, as imported vehicles had been sold within the European Economic Area, and European vehicle manufacturers.

In 2016, some 3.4m motor vehicles were imported from non-EU countries, while the EU exported more than 6.3m vehicles to non-EU countries throughout the year, almost half of which were transported by the carriers that were fined as part of the EC's investigation.

Shipping company MOL was spared any fine as it was the firm that alerted the Commission to the cartel in the first place.

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