Cartel Digest

Parcel Tanker Shipping

Parcel Tanker Shipping
  Overall Cartel Period 1998-2002
  Participants Odfjell Seachem AS; Jo Tankers BV; Stolt-Nielsen
  Total Fines (DOJ) $62.3 million
  Total Fines (EC) No fines imposed

In 2003, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) launched probes into companies operating in the parcel tanker shipping industry, which includes the transportation by sea of bulk chemicals, edible oils, acids and other specialty liquids by sea.  When parcel tanker companies transport bulk liquids from one port to another, they sign “contracts of affreightment” with customers, which typically cover multiple shipments and specify the price, cargo destinations, and other terms and conditions.  According to the DOJ, between August 1998 and November 2002, three companies participated in a cartel to allocate customers and limit competition for contracts of affreightment.

 

Enforcement Highlights:

  • The DOJ imposed fines totaling $62 million on two of the three cartel members.
  • In March 2004, the DOJ revoked the conditional leniency previously granted to the third cartel member, Stolt-Nielsen. But, after three years of litigation in the federal courts, a federal court reinstated Stolt-Nielsen's amnesty.  The DOJ decided not to pursue further legal action against the company after the ruling.
Company Conspiracy Period Fine (USD) Plea Date No. of Excluded Individuals Plea Agreement
Odfjell Seachem AS 1/98-1/02 $42.5 million 11/03/2003 N/A Plea Agreement
Jo Tankers BV 1/98-1/02 $19.5 million 06/09/2004 N/A Plea Agreement
Stolt-Nielsen 8/98-11/02 Immunity N/A  
Individual Company Prison Sentence Fine (USD) Plea Date Plea Agreement
Erik Nilsen, Vice President Odfjell Seachem AS 3 months $25,000 10/24/2003 Plea Agreement
Bjorn Sjaastad, CEO Odfjell Seachem AS 4 months $250,000 10/24/2003 Plea Agreement
Hendrikus van Westenbrugge, Co-Managing Director Jo Tankers BV 3 months $75,000 01/08/2004  
Samuel Cooperman, Chairman Stolt-Nielsen Immunity  
Richard Wingfield, Managing Director of Tanker Trading Stolt-Nielsen Immunity