Justice Department investigation of forwarders may continue
October 01, 2010 - LM Editorial
While news that half a dozen major international freight forwarders have plead guilty to price-fixing, there may be more collateral damage to come. In an interview with LM today, Brandon Fried, executive director of the Air Forwarders Association in Washington, DC, said that he would be meeting with legal counsel to determine if other players would be named later.
“It’s too soon to make a statement at this point,” he said. “But we will have a better picture before too long.”
So far, the picture has not been pretty. Six international freight forwarders have agreed to plead guilty and to pay criminal fines totaling $50.27 million for their roles in several conspiracies to fix a variety of fees and charges in connection with the provision of freight forwarding services for international air cargo shipment.
According to the Department of Justice, these are just the first charges filed as a result of the department’s antitrust investigation of the freight forwarding industry.
According to charges filed separately yesterday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, six companies–EGL Inc., a Houston-based company; Kühne + Nagel International AG, based in Schindellegi, Switzerland (K+N); Geologistics International Management (Bermuda) Limited, based in Hamilton, Bermuda; Panalpina World Transport (Holding) Ltd., based in Basel, Switzerland; Schenker AG, based in Essen, Germany; and BAX Global Inc., a Toledo, Ohio-based company–engaged in one or more separate conspiracies to impose certain charges or fees on customers purchasing international freight forwarding services for cargo freight destined for air shipment to the United States during various periods between 2002 and 2007.
Under the plea agreements, which are subject to court approval, the six companies have agreed to pay the following criminal fines: EGL, $4,486,120; K+N, $9,865,044; Geologistics, $687,960; Panalpina, $11,947,845; Schenker, $3,535,514; and BAX Global, $19,745,927. Each company has also agreed to cooperate with the department’s ongoing antitrust investigation.
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