OTTAWA, Ont.–Following a Competition Bureau investigation in the ocean freight industry in Canada, Overseas Container Forwarding, Inc. (OCF) pleaded guilty to two counts under the criminal conspiracy provision of the Competition Act for its participation in a price-fixing cartel related to various surcharges, including surcharges for currency exchange rate fluctuations and fuel. OCF was fined $675,000 by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa and is required to set-up a corporate compliance program under the terms of a prohibition order.
OCF agreed or arranged with Elvio Lancione, Michael Teixeira and ECU Line Canada Inc. (ECU), and other participants, on the rates, or formulas used to calculate the rates, of various surcharges between January 1, 2005 and March 6, 2011 for the supply of non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC) export consolidation services from Canada to various foreign destinations, said a release.
On April 8, 2014, Elvio Lancione, Michael Teixeira and ECU also pleaded guilty to charges related to the fixing of surcharges for the supply of export consolidation services.
The Bureau began investigating this cartel in December 2009 once it became aware of it by way of its Immunity Program. The investigation is also benefitting from the cooperation of companies under the Bureau’s Leniency Program, including OCF.
“Price-fixing represents one of the most egregious forms of anti-competitive behaviour and today’s guilty plea sends a clear message that price-fixing activities will not be tolerated in Canada,” said John Pecman, Commissioner of Competition, in a statement.