Eight logistics companies busted for collusionEight logistics companies have been fined a total of 3.13 billion won ($2.6 million) for price-fixing.
According to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) on Monday, Hanjin Transportation, CJ Logistics, Dongbang, Sebang, Dongbu Express, Sun Kwang, KCTC and Kumjin Shipping colluded in 10 bids worth a total of 29.4 billion won.
The bids covered transporting equipment and materials from coal to limestone for four state-run utility companies - Korea Electric Power (Kepco), Korea Midland Power (Komipo), Korea South-East Power and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power - from 2011 to 2016.
Hanjin was the biggest offender, participating in all 10 instances of collusion, and faces a fine of 706 million won.
The anti-trust body said that the logistics companies made agreements in order to prevent competitive pricing, and also made arrangements on who would win the bids.
CJ Logistics, Hanjin, Dongbang and Sebang made arrangements annually over the six-year period to transport equipment such as transformers for Kepco bound for Jeju Island from the southern port city of Busan.
The FTC explained that the companies colluded due to high shipping transportation costs. This cleared up uncertainties and allowed the four companies to maintain prices.
In five other bids, such as transporting limestone for Komipo in December 2015 from the eastern port of Mukho in Gangwon to Boryeong in South Chungcheong, the companies also made agreements to hire each other as subcontractors.
According to the FTC, the logistics companies colluded by contacting each other by phone and in regular meetings between executives and employees.
The FTC said it has ordered the eight companies not to further collude and that it would strengthen monitoring of transportation bids.
BY CHAE YUN-HWAN [firstname.lastname@example.org]