24 Juli 2015

[240715.EN.BIZ] DB Schenker Participates In Cartel In Violation Of Company Code

GERMAN logistics provider, DB Schenker, declared in its code of conduct last year that the company was against any form of cartel and was to comply with competition regulations.

This was disclosed after the company and Express Interfracht (EXIF) - now renamed Rail Cargo Logistics - was fined EUR49.1 million (US$53.2 million) by the European Commission for marketing a rail cartel in western and central Europe between 2004 and 2012.

Cartel member Kuehne + Nagel avoided paying a EUR62 million fine because it informed on the rest. The EC reduced the penalties for DB Schenker and EXIF from a potential EUR50 million and EUR35 million respectively in exchange for their cooperation, London's freightweek reported.

The DB Schenker Code of Conduct, updated in 2014, declared: "We abide by the applicable competition regulations and do not reach any arrangements or agreements which affect prices and/or terms and conditions or which in any other way illegitimately restrict fair competition."

A year earlier, the commission discovered DB Schenker and the other two companies had colluded when operating Balkantrain, a block train connecting western, central and southeast Europe; and Soptrain, a similar service linking central Europe with Romania.

DB Schenker appeared to take a different view back in December 2014 when it announced it was suing a group of airlines $3 billion in US and German courts for allegedly operating a cartel.

Meanwhile, in the same month, it agreed to pay $8.75 million to settle a similar complaint against it by a group of shippers.

In March this year its parent company issued a follow-up statement in respect to the airline litigation: "Deutsche Bahn can confirm that its logistics subsidiary, Schenker AG, has dismissed its claims against Nippon Cargo, SAS and Cargolux in the air cargo cartel lawsuit brought in the Eastern District of New York."

EC Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager commented: "I find it very disappointing that a project to enhance transport efficiency and promote environmentally friendly cargo transport was derailed into a cartel."

Source : HKSG.

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