Nippon, SAS, Cargolux escape cartel litigation

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German railway firm Deutsche Bahn’s (DB) logistics subsidiary Schenker has reached an out-of-court settlement with three airlines it had sued for a price-fixing cartel it says affected its airfreight business.

The company did not reveal how much the total figure was; only saying that it had “dismissed” the claims against Nippon Cargo, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Cargolux. DB Schenker declined to comment on the issue.

The three carriers were among six that had been found guilty last year by the US Department of Justice, the European Commission and other international authorities of operating the global cartel.

The six airlines face damages of approximately $3.7 billion in the US lawsuit and in lawsuits brought by DB and other companies in Germany. In the US, Schenker says it is seeking damages estimated of approximately $370 million, but explains that number could increase to an estimated $1.1 billion if the court awards treble damages in the case. 

A statement from DB says: “Deutsche Bahn can confirm that its logistics subsidiary, Schenker AG, has dismissed its claims against Nippon Cargo, Scandinavian Airlines and Cargolux in the air cargo cartel lawsuit brought in the Eastern district of New York. “Schenker will continue to pursue its claims against other air carriers and seek damages relating to the air carriers’ anti-competitive conduct alleged in the US cartel lawsuit, based on the legal principle of joint and several liability.”

DB says that it is still pursuing lawsuits in the courts against Air France-KLM, Qantas Airways and All Nippon Airways.

The six airlines had pleaded guilty to colluding to fix fuel and security surcharges from 1999 until 2006. The lawsuit relates to shipments to, from and within the US. In August last year, Schenker filed a complaint against the six airlines in the Eastern District court of New York, and said they were coordinating surcharge pricing for shipments and airlines violated US antitrust laws.

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