GERMANY's national railway Deutsche Bahn is seeking US$2.5 billion in damages from more than a dozen airlines, including Cathay Pacific Airways and Singapore Airlines involving participation in price fixing cargo cartels.
"A number of air cargo carriers in the United States entered into settlement agreements both with class action plaintiffs and individual claimants in order to avoid protracted civil lawsuits," said the Deutsche Bahn statement.
"Schenker agreed to settlements with some carriers but opted out of the settlement agreements by the named defendants in connection with the class action lawsuit," the statement said.
Deutsche Bahn said the damages sought by its logistics subsidiary Schenker amounted to US$370 million in the United States and US$2.25 billion, in Germany largely targeting Lufthansa as a result of an alleged price-fixing between 1999 and 2006.
It said the US portion could increase to an estimated US$1.1 billion if a court tripled the amount that Schenker was seeking in the US case.
Schenker filed suit in Cologne alleging Singapore Airlines, Cathay, Lufthansa, BA, Swiss Airlines, Cargolux, SAS, Air Canada, JAL, LAN and Qantas were involved in a conspiracy to fix fuel and security surcharges.
Cathay declined comment.
In August, Schenker filed suit against Air France, KLM, Martinair, Cargolux, Qantas, SAS and All Nippon Airways in the district court in New York, alleging US antitrust law violations.
All defendants named in Schenker's complaint in the US pleaded guilty in Department of Justice proceedings, the German company said.
"This action arises from a secret and unlawful global conspiracy undertaken and engaged in by defendants and numerous co-conspirator air freight carriers during the period from late 1999 until 2006 and thereafter to fix, raise, maintain, and/or stabilise prices of air freight shipping services, including the prices for air cargo shipments to, from, and within the United States," said the plaintiff in the US suit.
Source : HKSG.