Mexico's antitrust agency COFECE announced it has sanctioned seven shipping companies operating in Mexico for causing a rise in prices after colluding on routes in the auto transport services market.
COFECE said it had levied fines totaling about 582 million pesos (US$ 32 million) covering nine separate agreements in force between 2009 and 2015 as the firms divided up the market amongst themselves for the transport of automobiles as well as farm and construction machinery.
“Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV), Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (KLine), K Line America, Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), Mitsui OSK Bulk Shipping (MOBUSA), Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) and Wallenius Wilhlmsen Logistics (WWL), all of which are competing companies, are responsible of committing absolute monopolistic practices by agreeing and implementing agreements to divide the market of maritime transportation of motor vehicles among themselves,” said the agency in a press release (PDF).
The sanctioned firms provide maritime transportation services globally to original equipment manufacturers that produce and/or sell motor vehicles.
According to COFECE, the companies overlap on different routes that involve Mexican ports. Between 2009 and 2012, these agents entered nine collusive agreements, in some cases the period of the deal was extended into 2015, to allocate among themselves the national market of maritime transportation of motor vehicles and construction and farming equipment.
"This reduced the competitive pressure and increased the costs of services provided to companies in the automotive sector," the statement added.
The Federal Commission for Economic Competition (COFECE) is the Mexican anti-trust commission charged with supervising, promoting, and guaranteeing free access and competition in the markets.