FRANKFURT, April 17 Deutsche Post
expects its DHL forwarding business to be granted immunity from
prosecution and fines by Singapore antitrust authorities, who
are investigating 11 companies for alleged price fixing, the
German logistics company said.
The Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) said this
month it was investigating 11 freight forwarding companies,
including Deutsche Post unit DHL Global Forwarding, for alleged
price-fixing of air freight forwarding services.
Deutsche Post told Reuters last week that the probe related
to pricing and surcharges in the forwarding industry from 2002
Forwarders buy cargo space from airlines, shippers and
truckers and bundle shipments for customers, such as carmakers,
high-tech firms and agriculture firms. They also offer
warehousing, warranty processing, returns management as well as
customs and insurance brokerage.
"DHL Global Forwarding will be granted immunity from
prosecution and fines by the CCS as a result of its cooperation
with the CCS under its leniency program," Deutsche Post said.
Announcing the investigation on its website, CCS said the 11
companies include Deutsche Post's DHL Global Forwarding units in
Japan and Singapore, Hankyo Hanshin Express, K Line Logistics,
MOL Logistics, Kintetsu World Express Inc, Nippon
Express Co, Nishi-Nippon Railroad Co, Nissin
Corporation, Vantec Corporation, Yamato Holdings Co
and Yusen Logistics Co.
CCS cited evidence showing the companies had attended
meetings in Japan at which they exchanged information and agreed
certain fees and surcharges on air freight forwarding for
shipments from Japan to other countries, including Singapore.
The watchdog said it launched the investigation after
receiving an application for immunity from one of the parties
involved in the alleged cartel. It did not identify the company.
K Line Logistics said it was notified by CCS about
infringing Singapore competition law, was taking the matter
seriously and would work to improve compliance management.
Representatives of Hankyo Hanshin Express Co Ltd, Nippon
Express, Nishi-Nippon Railroad, Yusen Logistics and Vantec
Corporation said they were looking into the matter.
Kintetsu World Express, MOL Logistics and Yamato Holdings
declined to comment, while Nissin Corporation was not
immediately available for comment.
Deutsche Post's air freight forwarding business is the
biggest in the world in terms of export freight tonnes. It
competes with Kuehne & Nagel and Panalpina of
Switzerland and with Schenker, a unit of German state-owned
railway Deutsche Bahn.
Deutsche Post derives about three quarters of its sales from
its DHL logistics units that offer express international courier
services, global forwarding and supply chain logistics. It said
its mail, express and supply chain divisions were not a subject
of Singapore's investigation.
The company said it would will continue to strengthen its
internal compliance procedures across the business.
(Reporting by Marilyn Gerlach and Harro ten Wolde; additional
Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori and James Topham in Tokyo and
Rachel Armstrong in Singapore; editing by David Holmes and Tom