Car Shipping Company
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Several major import car shippers,
which together are said to command 70 percent of the global
car-shipping market, face allegations of price fixing in a civil lawsuit
filed in a U.S. court.
The overseas shippers are accused of taking part in a scheme to “fix,
raise, maintain and/or stabilize prices” that lasted at least five
years, according to the May 24 complaint, which was filed by law firm
Susman Godfrey in U.S. District Court in Jacksonville, Fla.
The car shipping companies sought to suppress and eliminate competition in the
car-shipping market, the complaint says. The civil lawsuit follows
investigations into shipping companies’ pricing practices by government
agencies in Europe, Japan, the United States and elsewhere.
‘We are aware’
“I can confirm that we are aware of the civil class-action lawsuit
that has been filed against many a car shipping company, Wallenius
Wilhelmsen Logistics included,” Anna Larsson, a spokeswoman for the
shipping company’s logistics arm, wrote in an e-mail. “We are also aware
that when regulatory investigations of an industry have been started in
the USA, it is basically routine that civil class actions follow.”
A spokesman for the International Chamber of Shipping, a trade
association that represents merchant ship operators, said it is not
involved in the case and does not comment on ongoing lawsuits.
Burns said in an interview that the companies likely resorted to
fixing because of declining business stemming from the onset of global
recession in 2008 and rising oil prices.
From 2008 to 2012, average shipping service prices increased from
around $350 per vehicle to about $410, according to documents filed with
the suit. Burns said not all of the increase was necessarily due to
potentially illegal activity.