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Following an appeal of antitrust penalties imposed by the European Commission on a number of freight forwarding companies in 2012, the General Court of the European Union has upheld the Commission’s decision.

The European Commission imposed fines totalling €169 million in March 2012, levied against a number of freight and logistics companies accused of forming price-fixing cartels.

The Commission identified four distinct cartels in total, with companies co-ordinating surcharges for the “advance manifest system” (applied to the data required to be submitted to US customs following 9/11), the “new export system” (involving a pre-clearance system for exports from the UK to countries outside the European Economic Area), the “currency adjustment factor” (a strategy designed to deal with the People’s Bank of China no longer pegging Chinese currency to the American dollar in 2005), and the “peak season surcharge” (pertaining to certain times where demand led to a shortage of transport capacity).

Following the appeal, the only reduction has been from the fine applied to UTi Worldwide, from €3.07 million to €2.97 million, for a reassessment of infringement periods. The General Court rejected all other arguments and upheld the fines.

(Source: Handy Shipping Guides)

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