On September 19, 2012, the Department of Justice announced that the Japanese freight forwarding company Yamato Global Logistics Japan Co. Ltd. agreed to plead guilty and pay $2.3 million in criminal fines for fixing prices for air cargo shipments from Japan to the United States.
The company is reported to have fixed fuel surcharges and security fees from September of 2002 to November of 2007. Apart from the criminal fine, Yamato Global Logistics Japan Co. Ltd. has already agreed to cooperate with the Department of Justice in a continuing antitrust investigation.
Currently, the investigation has led to 14 companies to pleading guilty or agreeing to plead guilty and pay criminal fines totaling more than $100 million.
Freight forwarders like the one in Japan engage in the delivery of domestic and international goods for customers. The process starts by receiving, packaging, and preparing the freight. The freight forwarder then schedules the transportation with providers such as air carriers and prepares shipping documentation.
According to the Department of Justice, the company in Japan secretly agreed to organize and impose freight forwarding fees. Scott D. Hammond, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program, states, “Consumers ultimately were forced to pay higher prices on the goods they buy every day as a result of the noncompetitive and collusive fees charged by these companies.”
The company in Japan is charged within violating the Sherman Act. This maximum fine for the violation of the Act is $100 million for corporations. The maximum fine can increase if the gain was twice the loss suffered by victims.
The charges were brought forth by the Antitrust Division’s National Criminal Enforcement Section, the Washington FBI Field Office, and the Office of the Inspector General under the Department of Commerce.
Source: Department of Justice