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The Japanese ocean liner carriers and three executives at the companies allegedly conspired to fixed prices on roll-on/roll-off cargo, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
No reasons was given for NYK's decision, but industry officials say it is tough for carriers to make money in the north-south trade lanes today.
Spot container rates on major trades between Asia and Europe and the United States as measured by the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index fell 7.5 percent from last week to a reading of 622.60.
The Israeli ocean carrier recently returned to the black, posting adjusted net profits of $23 million in the second quarter of 2015 compared with a net loss of $50 million the previous year.
With more tonnage to be delivered next year, London-based shipping consultant Drewry says "the overhang of excess capacity [in the ocean freight industry] will be even greater than that experienced in 2009."
Capacity growth was relatively stagnant across the three major east-west trades in the third quarter of 2015, as slowing global trade and an economic recession in China caused volumes to remain weak even during the summer peak shipping season.