The Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) has issued a Proposed Infringement Decision (PID) against 11 freight forwarding companies and their Singapore subsidiaries / affiliates. CCS provisionally finds that the Parties have infringed section 34 of the Competition Act by collectively fixing certain fees and surcharges, and exchanging price and customer information in relation to the provision of air freight forwarding services for shipments from Japan to Singapore.
CCS commenced investigations after receiving an application for immunity under CCS’s Leniency Programme from one of the Parties involved in the alleged cartel. In CCS’s provisional view, information received during the course of the investigation evidences that the Parties were competitors and attended meetings in Japan where they exchanged information, discussed and agreed on certain fees and surcharges in relation to air freight forwarding services for shipments from Japan to other countries, including Singapore. The PID is limited to anti-competitive agreements and/or concerted practices involving the Japan to Singapore route.
The PID is a written notice setting out the facts on which CCS makes its assessment of the Conduct and its reasons for arriving at the proposed decision. It is issued to give the parties concerned an opportunity to respond to the PID and provide any other information to CCS by way of representations. CCS will consider all representations made before deciding whether to issue an infringement decision.
In this regard, all the Parties have 35 working days from the receipt of the PID to make their representations. All the information and evidence put forward by the Parties will be taken into consideration by the CCS should it issue a final decision in relation to the Conduct.
The case is the latest in a long line of investigations into the freight transport sector by competition authorities around the world over the past decade, a process that began with air freight carriers before spreading to freight forwarders, container shipping lines and rail freight operators.
The competition authorities in the US and the EU have issued penalties totaling more than US$2 billion, with the US imprisoning several senior executives judged to have participated in cartel activity. Singapore’s PID is limited to anti-competitive agreements or practices involving the Japan to Singapore route. Source: Competition Commission of Singapore