Bulelani Ngcuka and Sipho Ngwema.
JOHANNESBURG - A Norwegian car shipping company has been referred to the Tribunal for prosecution on seven charges relating to collusive tendering, price fixing and market division.

The Competition Commission on Tuesday said in a statement, the charges stem from a probe into widespread anti-competitive conduct in the market for the provision of transportation of motor vehicles, equipment and machinery by sea to and from South Africa.

Hoegh Autoliners Holdings AS (Hoegh) stands accused of colluding with a Japanese car shipping company, Mitsui O.S.K Lines Ltd (MOL).

From around 2009, MOL and Hoegh engaged in prohibited practices in that they agreed and/or engaged in concerted practices as competitors to fix prices, divide markets and tender conclusively. 

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Among the charges are; collusive activities from around 1997 involving a tender issued by Auto Alliance Thailand to transport Mazda motor vehicles from Thailand to South Africa and collusive activities from around 2004 involving tenders issued by Toyota South Africa to transport vehicles from South Africa to Europe and North Africa;

Sipho Ngwema commision’s spokesperson said MOL previously approached the Commission in terms of its Corporate Leniency Policy and was subsequently granted leniency for its involvement in the cartel conduct in exchange for information and full cooperation in the matter.

“In referring the matter against Hoegh to the Tribunal for adjudication, the Commission is seeking an order declaring that the company is liable for the payment of an administrative penalty equal to 10% of its annual turnover on each of the charges.”