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DOJ nabs Japanese forwarder for price fixing

By Hpanchal on September 21, 2012

Japanese forwarder Yamato Global Logistics Japan Co. Ltd is the latest company indicted in the U.S. Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation into price fixing. As part of a plea deal, Yamato Global Logistics Japan will pay the DOJ $2.3 million for conspiring to fix fees on airfreight shipments from Japan to the U.S. from September 2002 until at least November 2007.

The Japanese forwarder, along with the 13 other companies nabbed by the DOJ for price fixing, didn’t just violate the Sherman Act, according to Scott Hammond, deputy assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program. The companies impeded U.S. commerce, he said.

“Consumers ultimately were forced to pay higher prices on the goods they buy every day as a result of the noncompetitive and collusive service fees charged by these companies,” Hammond said in a statement. “Prosecuting these kinds of global price-fixing conspiracies continues to be a high priority of the Antitrust Division.”

The DOJ has levied more than $100 million in criminal fines since it launched its price fixing investigation in early 2006. Last year, the government watchdog slapped six other Japanese freight forwarders with fees totaling $46.8 million for their participation in an airfreight cartel.

The DOJ isn’t the only government agency doling out fines for price fixing, however. In June, the High Court of New Zealand ordered Japan Airlines to pay NZ$2.28 million for participating in an airfreight cartel. One month later, Korean Air became the latest carrier to settle with Canada’s Competition Bureau for conspiring to fix cargo surcharges from April 22, 2002, to Feb. 14, 2006.

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