COLOGNE: DB Schenker AG, which earlier this week announced it was suing a group of airlines US$3 billion for price-fixing, has agreed to pay US$8.75 million to settle a similar complaint brought by a group of shippers.
The logistics subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn has been a defendant in a class action 'Precision Associates, Inc. v. Panalpina World Transport' filed in the Eastern District of New York – the same court where Schenker is now suing several airlines.
The shippers, who include Mail Boxes Etc., JCK Industries, RBX Industries, Mary Elle Fashions, Printing Technology, Inter-Global, Zeta Pharmaceuticals and Kraft Chemical Company, claim a large group of forwarders conspired, in violation of antitrust laws, to fix prices for logistics services on routes between the U.S. and China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, and the U.K between January 2001 and September 2012.
While the court has yet to adjudicate, as of September 15 this year Schenker, EGL, Expeditors, Nishi-Nippon, Vantec, United Aircargo, Kuhne + Nagel, Morrison Express, UTI Worldwide, Toll, Panalpina, Geodis, Jet Speed, DSV, SDV and ABX Logistics have agreed to pay US$178 million into a settlement fund for the benefit of shippers.
Court documents say these companies have agreed to reach an out-of-court settlement "to avoid the time, expense, and uncertainty associated with resolving this case by a jury trial". Other forwarder defendants have yet to settle.
Commenting on the move this week to recover what it claims are "hundreds of millions of dollars in the form of fuel and security surcharges" from the airlines, a spokesman for Schenker said: "As a company, we believe that discussion and engagement among partners are always the best ways to settle disputes. But sometimes these approaches simply don't work, and we have to find other ways to bring about just and reasonable solutions. We find ourselves in one of those situations today."
More information on the Schenker airline lawsuit here.