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Japanese forwarders plead guilty to price fixing

By control on September 29, 2011

Six Japanese freight forwarders have pleaded guilty in the U.S. Department of Justice's ongoing air cargo price-fixing investigation and will be fined a total of $46.8 million. With these new plea deals, 12 freight-forwarding companies have pleaded guilty to price fixing, agreeing to pay a total approaching $100 million.

The firms have pleaded guilty to coordinating fuel surcharges and security fees on U.S.-bound cargo from September 2002 to November 2007.

The U.S. government levied the biggest fine, $21.11 million, at Nippon Express, and Kintetsu World Express has agreed to pay $10.46 million for its role in the conspiracy. Nishi-Nippon Railroad was charged $4.67 million; Hankyu Hanshin Express was charged $4.52 million; Vantec will pay $3.33 million; and Nissin will pay $2.64 million.

The first six freight forwarders pleaded guilty on Sept. 30, 2010, and were fined a total of $50.27 million. Kuehne + Nagel International AG, Panalpina World Transport and Schenker AG were among those charged.

Price-fixing plea deals have been more prevalent among air carriers. In May, the U.S. government fined EVA Airways $13.2 million for its role in the price-fixing scandal. At that point, more than $1.8 billion had been collected, and 22 airlines and 21 airline executives had been charged. Allegations by the U.S. have led to similar charges in New Zealand, Europe and Asia.

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