China: Eight Ocean Shipping Companies Fined CNY 407 Million For Collusive Tendering By NDRC (In Chinese)

Last Updated: 14 January 2016
Article by AnJie Law Firm

根据相关企业提供的线索,历经一年多的调查,国家发展改革委日前对日本邮船株式会社、川崎汽船株式会社、株式会社商船三井、威克滚装船务有限公司、华轮威尔森物流有限公司、智利南美轮船有限公司、日本东车轮船有限公司、智利航运滚装船务有限公司等8家滚装货物国际海运企业达成并实施价格垄断协议(串通投标)的行为依法做出处罚,分别处以2014年度与中国市场相关的滚装货物国际海运服务销售额之4%至9%不等的罚款,合计罚款4.07亿元。

调查证据显示,8家滚装货物国际海运企业在往返于中国与其他国家和地区的滚装货物(包括汽车、卡车以及工程机械等)海运服务市场上,存在互不侵犯既有业务以维持或抬高运费水平的共识,并针对滚装货物制造商发出的进出口中国的海运业务招标、询价等事项,通过电话、会议、聚餐、电子邮件、专程拜访等方式频繁进行双边或多边沟通,交换敏感信息、进行价格协商、商讨投标意向、分配客户及航线,多次达成报高价或不报价的协议并予以实施,协助具有竞争关系的海运企业获得了海运订单。相关海运企业规避反垄断监管的意图明显,采取了多种不正当手段。相关海运企业价格垄断行为持续时间长,从2008年中国《反垄断法》施行算起,存续时长不少于四年。相关海运企业价格垄断行为影响面广,涵盖滚装货物进出口中国海运市场的北美-中国、欧洲-中国、中国-南美、中国-欧洲、中国近海等主要航线,涉及多个汽车品牌和工程机械品牌。

8家滚装货物国际海运企业达成并实施价格垄断协议(串通投标)的行为排除、限制了相关市场竞争,抬高了滚装货物国际海运费率,损害了中国相关滚装货物进出口商和终端消费者的利益,违反了中国《反垄断法》关于禁止具有竞争关系的经营者达成并实施固定价格、分割市场等垄断协议的规定。案情查明后,国家发展改革委先后两次向8家海运企业通报查明的事实及证据,并听取反馈意见,给被查企业充分表达意见的机会。8家海运企业认识到自身违法行为的性质、危害并深表歉意,愿意承担中国《反垄断法》项下的相应法律责任,同时提出了相关整改措施:一是加强反垄断合规制度建设,如设置首席竞争合规官并建立审查机制等;二是加强反垄断合规培训教育,如向全体员工印发反垄断合规手册等;三是加强反垄断合规技术建设,如开发软件系统筛查内部敏感邮件等。

根据价格垄断协议行为的违法性质、程度、持续时间等因素,国家发展改革委依法对8家海运企业分别处以各自2014年度与中国市场相关的滚装货物国际海运服务销售额不同比例的罚款:一、对达成并实施垄断协议持续时间长、涉及品牌多、涉案事件多,情节严重的日本邮船株式会社、川崎汽船株式会社、株式会社商船三井,考虑到这3家海运企业主动报告了汽车等滚装货物国际海运市场达成垄断协议的有关情况并提供了重要证据,符合中国《反垄断法》第四十六条规定的宽大情节,因而对第一家适用宽大制度的日本邮船株式会社免除处罚,对第二家适用宽大制度的川崎汽船株式会社处以4%的罚款,计2398.09万元,对第三家适用宽大制度的株式会社商船三井处以7%的罚款,计3812.11万元;二、对达成并实施垄断协议的持续时间长、涉及品牌多、涉案事件多,情节严重但提供了反垄断执法机构未掌握的有关违法事实和证据的威克滚装船务有限公司、华轮威尔森物流有限公司,综合考虑分别处以9%和8%的罚款,分别计2.84亿元和4506.13万元;三、对达成并实施垄断协议持续时间长但涉及品牌、事件和航线数量较少的智利南美轮船有限公司、日本东车轮船有限公司、智利航运滚装船务有限公司(还具有在垄断协议中仅起到协助配合作用的情节)分别处以6%、5%和4%的罚款,分别计307.67万元、1126.86万元和119.84万元。

附:

国家发展和改革委员会免予行政处罚决定书〔2015〕1 号

当事人:日本邮船株式会社

地 址:(略)

根据《中华人民共和国反垄断法》等法律法规,本机关于2014年8月起对当事人涉嫌垄断的行为进行了调查,现查明当事人与具有竞争关系的滚装货物海运企业达成并实施了垄断协议。本机关的调查情况和处理决定如下:

一、违法事实和证据

当事人近年来一直从事往返于中国与其他国家和地区之间的滚装货物国际海运服务。滚装货物包括汽车、机械等非集装箱装运并且可以在轮船上通过滚上、滚下的方式装卸的货物。至少在2008年至2012年9月期间,针对滚装货物制造商发出的与中国进出口海运相关的市场调研、询价、招标等事项,当事人频繁与具有竞争关系的滚装货物海运企业通过电话、会议、聚餐、专程访问等方式进行双边或多边沟通,交换敏感信息、进行价格协商、分配客户及航线,多次就特定滚装货物制造商涉及中国航线海运业务的报价达成协议并予以了实施。

当事人与竞争对手在业务承揽过程中约定互不侵犯各自既有的运输业务,一方面针对当事人已经承运的特定航线上特定制造商的业务,要求竞争对手给予尊重,以不报价或者报高价的方式,协助当事人获得订单,维持甚至提高运费水平;另一方面针对竞争对手已经承运的特定航线上特定制造商的业务,当事人给予尊重,以不报价或者报高价的方式,协助竞争对手获得订单,维持甚至提高运费水平。

经查,当事人至少从事了下列行为:

欧洲至中国航线:2009年9月,(略)发出市场调研,当事人通过电话分别联系川崎汽船株式会社以下称"川崎汽船")、株式会社商船三井(以下称"商船三井")和威克滚装船务有限公司(以下称"威克船务"),达成报价协议并予以了实施。2010年4月,(略)发出招标,当事人通过电话、会面等方式与川崎汽船、商船三井、威克船务进行讨论,交换投标意向,达成报价协议并予以了实施。2011年7月,(略)发出招标,当事人与川崎汽船、商船三井进行电话讨论,达成报价协议并予以了实施。2012年3月,(略)发出招标,当事人与川崎汽船进行电话沟通,讨论报价水平,达成报价协议并予以了实施。

2010年5月,(略)发出询价,当事人与威克船务通过电话、会面等方式多次联系,反复讨论,约定当事人以高于威克船务目标运费的水平进行报价,并予以了实施。2011年11月,(略)发出招标。在正式招标前后,当事人与威克船务通过电话、互访、面谈等方式多次沟通,反复讨论,达成报价协议并予以了实施,协助威克船务最终获得订单并实现了涨价。

2010年8月,(略)针对新增运量发出询价。当事人与川崎汽船通过电话、会面等方式讨论、约定提高报价,并予以了实施。当事人同时通过电话、面谈等方式与威克船务进行讨论,约定威克船务对此次询价报出高价以协助当事人涨价;作为回报,当事人承诺将协助威克船务获得该航线上(略)汽车的承运业务。2011年7月,(略)发出招标。当事人通过电话、会面等方式与川崎汽船多次进行讨论,相互确认涨价意向、约定报价水平,同时与商船三井反复商讨,分配意图中标航线,约定报价水平,并予以了实施。当事人还通过会面等方式与威克船务进行协商,约定威克船务以报高价的方式协助当事人获得订单;作为回报,当事人将协助威克船务获得该航线上(略)汽车的承运业务。当事人按照约定予以了实施。

2009年8月,(略)发出招标。当事人与威克船务进行面谈,交换投标意向和价格信息。2010年1月,(略)针对部分车型的运输需求发出信息征询,并于5月针对其他车型发出招标。当事人与威克船务通过电话多次沟通,讨论报价水平,达成报价协议并予以了实施。2011年7月,(略)发出询价。当事人与威克船务通过电话进行沟通,约定报价水平,达成报价协议,以协助威克船务获得订单并予以了实施。2012年1月,(略)发出招标,当事人与威克船务电话沟通,约定提高报价,并予以了实施。2012年2月,为了解开设新出发港口的可行性,(略)发出信息征询。当事人通过电话分别与川崎汽船、商船三井进行沟通,讨论报价水平,约定报出高价以阻止(略)开设这一新出发港口,并予以了实施,最终(略)放弃调整。

北美至中国航线:2009年9月,(略)发出询价。当事人与川崎汽船进行电话沟通,讨论配合条件,达成报价协议并予以了实施。2010年5月,(略)发出招标,当事人与川崎汽船进行电话沟通,约定当事人在川崎汽船提供的运费水平之上进行报价,并予以了实施。2012年,(略)发出招标。当事人与川崎汽船通过电话、会面等方式进行沟通,约定当事人按照川崎汽船提供的运费水平进行报价,并予以了实施。2012年2月,(略)发出招标。当事人与华轮威尔森物流有限公司(以下称"华轮威尔森")通过电话、会面等方式讨论报价水平,约定当事人以报高价的方式协助华轮威尔森维持运费水平,并予以了实施。2012年2月,(略)发出信息征询。当事人分别与商船三井、华轮威尔森通过电话、会面等方式进行沟通,交换投标意向,达成报价协议。同年5月,在信息征询的基础上,(略)发出招标。当事人与华轮威尔森通过电话、会面等方式进行协商,达成报价协议并予以了实施。

中国近海航线:2010年5月,(略)发出询价,希望降低运费。当事人与华轮威尔森进行会面,讨论如何应对(略)的降价要求,达成了报价协议并予以了实施。2011年1月,(略)发出询价。当事人通过电话、会面等方式与华轮威尔森多次沟通,讨论涨价水平和策略,达成报价协议并予以了实施。2012年3至4月,当事人又与华轮威尔森开展形式相同的讨论,频繁交换价格等敏感信息,讨论报价水平,排挤拟进入市场的新竞争者,达成报价协议并予以了实施。最终,当事人和华轮威尔森均成功获得订单,竞争对手退出竞争。

2011年4月,(略)发出询价。当事人与华轮威尔森通过电话进行沟通,华轮威尔森要求当事人拒绝报价,当事人同意并予以了实施。

中国至欧洲航线:2010年5月,(略)发出招标。当事人与川崎汽船、商船三井通过电话、会面等方式多次沟通,讨论报价水平,达成协议,约定川崎汽船和商船三井以报高价的方式对当事人在该航线上的海运业务予以尊重,同时当事人也分别尊重川崎汽船和商船三井在该航线上的海运业务。当事人按照约定予以了实施。2011年,(略)发出询价。当事人通过邮件与华轮威尔森联系,交换了报价信息。2011年11月,(略)发出报价要约。当事人与华轮威尔森讨论报价水平,达成报价协议并予以了实施。

在该航线上,当事人与威克船务一直保持密切沟通,频繁交换价格等敏感信息。2011年,当事人与威克船务多次开会讨论对(略)汽车在该航线上的海运业务进行提价,于同年10月达成了提高运输费率的协议,并于2012年2月新一期合同更新时予以了实施。

中国至北美航线:2010年8月,(略)发出询价。当事人与华轮威尔森及其关联企业沟通,约定以不报价的方式协助华轮威尔森获得订单,当事人与华轮威尔森达成报价协议并予以了实施。

中国至南美航线:2007年11月7日,当事人与缔结联营协议的川崎汽船、智利南美轮船有限公司(以下称"南美轮船")、智利航运滚装船务有限公司(以下称"智利航运")召开经理级别会议,讨论并约定该航线上中国出口汽车的海运费率最低指导价为85美元每立方米,并确定这一费率是提供给经联营协议全体成员批准的特定客户的特殊优惠费率,未经全体成员商讨同意的客户的运输费率应当高于85美元每立方米。2008年1月25日至28日,当事人与联营协议的其他成员通过邮件进行讨论,再次强调85美元每立方米的费率仅适用于部分客户,约定其余中国出口的乘用车和SUV汽车的运输费率应当高于85美元每立方米,卡车、机械和公共汽车的运费应当在115-120美元每立方米之间。该最低指导价格既适用于成员共同承运的业务,也适用于成员各自承运的业务。当事人与联营协议的其他成员在一系列询价、招标和承运业务过程中,通过电话、邮件、会议、定期报告等方式频繁交换报价信息,达成报价协议并予以了实施。

2008年8月,(略)发出招标。当事人与川崎汽船、南美轮船、智利航运多次召开电话会议或通过邮件讨论,商定其他三家企业报价略微不同但都高于川崎汽船,以协助川崎汽船中标,当事人予以了实施。2010年5月,(略)针对一个短期合同发出询价。当事人与川崎汽船、南美轮船、智利航运通过电话、邮件、会议讨论商定由南美轮船中标,其他三家企业则报出高价。2010年6月,(略)针对一个长期合同发出询价。当事人与川崎汽船、南美轮船、智利航运又进行了形式相同的讨论,达成报价协议并予以了实施。2012年6月,(略)再次发出询价。当事人与川崎汽船、南美轮船、智利航运讨论报价水平,达成报价协议并予以了实施。2008年8月,(略)发出招标。当事人与川崎汽船、南美轮船、智利航运通过会议、邮件等方式多次沟通,约定其他三家企业报高价以协助川崎汽船中标,达成报价协议并予以了实施。2011年7月,(略)发出询价。当事人与威克船务、南美轮船通过邮件、电话等方式交换了报价水平,达成报价协议并予以了实施。2011年全年,当事人与威克船务多次开会讨论关于(略)汽车在该航线上的运费涨价事宜,并达成共识,威克船务于2012年2月新一期合同更新时按照约定提高了报价。

根据当事人提交的财务数据,经本机关核定,确认当事人2014年度与中国市场相关的滚装货物国际海运服务销售额为人民币(略)元(汇率按中华人民共和国国家外汇管理局公布的2014年度平均人民币汇率中间价计算)。

以上事实,有本机关在调查过程中获取的电子邮件、会议记录、出差报销凭据、财务数据以及相关证人证言等为证。

二、行政处罚依据和决定

本机关认为,当事人与具有竞争关系的滚装货物海运企业约定互不侵犯各自既有的运输业务,在此基础上交换敏感信息、进行价格协商、分配客户及航线,就特定滚装货物海运业务达成报价协议并予以了实施。上述行为违反了《中华人民共和国反垄断法》第十三条第一款第(一)、(三)项的规定,构成了与具有竞争关系的经营者达成并实施"固定或者变更商品价格"、"分割销售市场"垄断协议的行为,排除、限制了相关市场竞争,损害了中国相关滚装货物进出口商和消费者的利益。

本机关认为,当事人的上述违法行为持续时间长、涉及范围广,且当事人在部分违法事件中起主导作用,违法情节严重,根据《中华人民共和国反垄断法》第四十六条第一款及第四十九条的规定,本机关决定对当事人处以2014年度与中国市场相关的滚装货物国际海运服务销售额10%的罚款。但鉴于当事人第一个主动向本机关报告达成垄断协议的有关情况并提供重要证据,且停止了违法行为,在调查过程中全面持续配合、进行整改,根据《中华人民共和国反垄断法》第四十六条第二款和《反价格垄断行政执法程序规定》第十四条的规定,本机关决定对当事人免予行政处罚。

三、相关事项

当事人如对本机关免予行政处罚决定不服,可自收到本决定书之日起六十日内向本机关申请行政复议,也可自收到本决定书之日起六个月内直接向人民法院提起行政诉讼。

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