An antitrust investigation of the car carrier business by the Japan Fair Trade Commission that became public Sept. 6 when officials visited the offices of at least five companies has been expanded to include requests for information by government authorities in the United States, Canada, and Europe.
Press reports said Wallenius Wihellmsen Logistics, Nippon Yusen Kaisha, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Eukor Car Carriers all reported visits by Japanese officials.
In a statement, Oslo-based WWL said it subsequently "received requests for information from the European Commission, from U.S. federal authorities and the Competition Bureau Canada."
Jack Peluso, director of corporate communications for NYK Line (North America) in Secaucus, N.J., also said that officials visited his company's offices in the United States.
No information was immediately available from the U.S. Justice Department.
WWL said "the purpose of these requests is to ascertain whether there is evidence
of any infringement of competition law related to possible price
cooperation between carriers and allocation of customers. As a
commercial carrier, the company fell within the scope of the competition
authorities’ investigation. We have no further details about the nature
of the investigation, but are willingly cooperating with the
"Inspections and requests for information and
subpoenas are a preliminary step in the competition authorities’
investigations. However, the fact that such inspections are carried out
does not mean that the companies have engaged in anti-competitive
behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself," the carrier added.
WWL said it's "fully co-operating with investigators and is working to respond to the requests for information." - Chris Dupin