Air Freight Forwarding Companies Involved In Price Fixing

By Steven Hoy

A worldwide investigation has been launched into alleged fuel price fixing by the air freight forwarding industry. Eleven major freight carrying airlines are being accused of trying to fix fuel price surcharges for freight forwarding flights. Amongst the airlines being accused of price fixing are British Airways, United Airlines and Lufthansa.

The airlines are being sued for fuel price fixing by a Tanzanian firm which had used KLM as a freight forwarding company to transport wood carvings to New York.

The company, Sisimizi which is based in Dar-Es-Salaam in Tanzania, is seeking unspecified damages from a number of major airlines which act as freight forwarding companies. The complaint about fuel price fixing by leading airlines was filed on February 28 in US District Court for the Northeastern District of Illinois.

According to Julius Maldutis, the president of consulting firm Aviation Dynamics:

"This is going to be a very big issue because all the airlines increased the price of their cargo business concurrently".

According to recent reports, Lufthansa has offered to cooperate with US federal prosecutors who are investigating the claim that price-fixing is taking place in the global airline freight forwarding industry.

Legal experts claim that by offering to co-operate with the authorities, Lufthansa could protect itself from possible criminal charges. This is most likely to be the case if it provides evidence against other air freight forwarding companies.

The investigation into allegations of fuel price fixing became public in February this year. At this time, authorities in Europe, Asia and the United States raided offices of a number of the world’s major airlines. They also requested information from other air freight forwarding companies. The crux of their investigations rests on the claim that air freight forwarders conspired to fix fuel surcharges and other fuel related costs.

A number of airlines have been asked to provide evidence and most have said that they are co-operating with these requests.
GBS Freight is a freight forwarding company with over twenty years industry experience offering freight services to and from the UK.

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