Monday, December 30, 2013

K Line, NYK Fined for Shipping Act Violations

Two ocean carrier companies operating pure car carriers (PCCs) and roll on/roll off (ro/ro) vessels in US inbound and outbound trades, have been penalized a combined $2.3 million by the Federal Maritime Commission for allegedly breaking rules regarding commercial shipping.

Under separate agreements, Tokyo-based companies Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. (K Line) and Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line), paid $1.1 million and $1.2 million, respectively, in civil penalties, the FMC revealed Dec. 23.

The fines resolved allegations that K Line and NYK Line had violated provisions of the Shipping Act by acting in concert with other ocean common carriers for the shipment of automobiles and other motorized vehicles by ro/ro or specialized car carrier vessels, but did not file such agreements with the Commission.

“These penalties underscore the seriousness with which the Commission views the carriers’ obligation to file with the Commission any agreement with other carriers affecting working relationships in the US trades, both for import and export traffic,” Commission Chair Mario Cordero said. “The shipping public has a right to know the subject matter and scope of any such agreement.”

The fines also addressed related activities and violations. Commission staff had alleged that the practices persisted over a period of several years and involved numerous US trade lanes, including to and/or from the Far East, Europe, the Middle East and South America.

In reaching the compromise agreements, K Line and NYK Line did not admit to guilt, but agreed to provide ongoing cooperation with other Commission investigations or enforcement actions with respect to these types of activities.

The Commission’s enforcement bureau is now investigating whether additional carriers are involved in similar agreement activities, Cordero said.