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DoJ asks shippers for help

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
October 01, 2010

As noted in today’s news, the U.S. Department of Justice may not be through with naming forwarders guilty of price-fixing. Indeed, they are calling upon shippers to share information on any anticompetitive conduct they may be aware of by calling the Antitrust Division’s National Criminal Enforcement Section at 202-307-6694.

So far, the abuse seems to be widespread.

According to the charges, the companies carried out the various conspiracies by, among other things, agreeing during meetings and discussions to coordinate various charges and fees on customers purchasing international freight forwarding services for cargo freight destined for air shipment to the United States.  The six alleged conspiracies being charged yesterday are:
• A global conspiracy that took place from March 2003 to October 2007, to impose an Air Automated Manifest System (AAMS) fee on international air shipments of cargo to the United States, in which EGL, Geologistics and Panalpina and others participated;
• A conspiracy that took place from July 2004 to October 2007, to impose an AAMS fee on shipments from Germany to the United States, in which K+N, Schenker and others participated;
• A conspiracy that took place from March 2004 to October 2007, to impose an AAMS fee on shipments from Switzerland to the United States, in which K+N and others participated;
• A conspiracy that took place from October 2002 to October 2007, to impose a New Export System (NES) fee on international air shipments from the United Kingdom to the United States, in which EGL, K+N, BAX and others participated;
• A conspiracy that took place from July 2005 to June 2006, to impose a Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF) on international air shipments from China to the United States, in which K+N, Panalpina, Schenker, BAX and others participated; and
• A conspiracy that took place from August 2005 to December 2007, to impose a Peak Season Surcharge (PSS) on shipments from Hong Kong to the United States, in which K+N, Panalpina, Schenker, BAX and others participated.

Each company is charged with price fixing in violation of the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum fine of $100 million per offense for corporations.  The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.

About the Author

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Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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