FILE PHOTO: The NYK Antares container ship of Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen sails across Tokyo Bay in Tokyo. Picture: Reuters

Johannesburg - The Competition Commission has recovered about R290 million in settlements in the motor industry. 

In a case that has been dragging since 2012,  the Competition Commission reached a settlement with Japanese company Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd (K Line) in a price-fixing case against them. The company paid R98 928 170.05. 

Two other companies admitted to their role in the colluding scandal in 2015 and paid fines. NYK, also a Japanese company, paid an administrative penalty of R103 977 927 and WWL, a Norwegian company, paid an administrative penalty of R95 695 529. 

The latest settlement brings a close to the case that has been going on for six years. The investigations into the collusion started when Mitsui O.S.K Lines Ltd (MOL), another Japanese company, approached the Commission. 

An investigation by the Commission found that K-Line, MOL, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics AS (WWL) fixed prices, divided markets and tendered collusively in relation to the shipment of Toyota vehicles from South Africa to Europe, North Africa, and the Caribbean Islands via Europe, West Africa, East Africa and Latin America. 

The companies transport motor vehicles, equipment and machinery by sea to and from South Africa. The price-fixing cartel inflated prices for cargo transportation in the region according to Competition Commissioner, Tembinkosi Bonakele. He said that cartels and collusive conduct increased the costs of trading and rendered the region uncompetitive in the world markets. “These cartels had the effect of significantly derailing the economic growth of the region,” Bonakele said.

The Commission charged K Line with 15 contraventions of the Competition Act and the company only admitted to eight. Among the contraventions,  K Line admitted that from 2002 to 2012, K Line and MOL colluded to get tenders by Toyota Motor Corporation and Ford Motor Company for the transportation of Toyota and Ford motor vehicles from Japan to West Africa and South Africa to West Africa by sea.

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The Star