RO-RO specialist Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean has been charged with criminal cartel conduct, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced.

According to the regulator, the charge relates to “alleged cartel conduct concerning the international shipping of certain vehicles to Australia between June 2011 and July 2012”.

The charge was laid by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution in the NSW District Registry of the Federal Court. The matter has been set down by the Court for a first mention on Thursday 29 August.

“This is the third prosecution involving an international shipping company engaging in alleged cartel conduct where criminal charges have been laid under the Competition and Consumer Act,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

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“Given this is a criminal matter currently before the Court, the ACCC will not be providing further comment at this time.”

According to the ACCC, this matter has been investigated and prosecuted in a number of other jurisdictions, including the United States.

WWO was previously known as Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics.

These charges follows convictions against Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) in August 2017 and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd (K-Line) in August 2019 for cartel conduct in the same cartel in which WWO is alleged to have participated.

In a statement, WWO said it had been “cooperating fully with the ACCC, and the matter has now been referred to the Federal court”.

“What has been announced by ACCC… is the first step in the formal legal proceedings, starting with an indictment and the company being asked to appear in court,” the company statement read.

“Whilst we regret that it has come to this, we are happy to see this matter now proceeding formally. The company is cooperating with the ACCC in this investigation and will continue to work with the normal processes of the court to bring this to a conclusion.”

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