The Competition Commission in 2012 initiated an investigation into several international shipping companies in respect of alleged collusion relating to the maritime shipment of motor vehicles, equipment and machinery to and from various countries, including South Africa.

The Commission is one of many competition authorities across the world investigating various firms alleged to have engaged in price fixing, market allocation and collusive tendering in this market.

The Commission developed a specific methodology to be applied for purposes of reaching settlement with the respondents in this matter. In terms of this methodology respondents are required to settle on an amount calculated with reference to the number of instances of collusion engaged in by it. The Commission accordingly imposes an administrative penalty for each instance of collusion separately (ie each of these instances of collusion could, in the view of the Commission, be prosecuted individually and carry an administrative penalty of up to 10% of turnover), although the cumulative administrative penalty does not exceed 10% of the respondents’ annual turnover.

Through the application of this methodology the Commission settled with Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics AS for its involvement of 11 collusive instances on the basis of an admission of engagement in collusive conduct and the payment of a cumulative administrative penalty of R95,695,529. Nipon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha Ltd settled with the Commission for its engagement in 14 instances of collusive conduct on the basis of an admission of engagement in the collusive conduct and the payment of a cumulative administrative penalty of R103,977,927.