Port warehouse cartel fined RM1m for price-fixing


The Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) has imposed RM1.04 million in penalties against seven warehouse operators for engaging with a price-fixing cartel in relation to cargo handling at Port Klang.

In a statement today, MyCC said the offence which took place between May 2017 and December 2019 involved Agencies Sdn Bhd, WCS Warehousing Sdn Bhd, Regional Synergy (M) Sdn Bhd, Intrexim Sdn Bhd, Pioneerpac Sdn Bhd, Prima Warehousing Sdn Bhd and Interocean Warehousing Services Sdn Bhd.

The agency said the price-fixing activities involved long length and heavy lift of import and export cargoes, infringing Section 4 of the Competition Act 2010.

The commission added that the penalties ranged between RM26,363.03 and RM336,369.13 for each company.

“The amount respectively imposed on the warehouse operators is not more than 10% of their worldwide turnover.

“In the process of determining the penalty, MyCC has considered the impact of the current economic situation together with the presence of mitigation and aggravating factors in the case,” MyCC said.

MyCC CEO Iskandar Ismail said the commission found that the operators had created a WhatsApp Group and began their discussion on fixing the surcharges despite acknowledging that they are all competitors in the warehouse services market.

During the same raid, MyCC also discovered the operators’ cartel agreement in the form of a document called ‘Surcharge Memorandum’ dated May 22, 2017 where all operators agreed that all of them would charge the agreed rates effective from June 1, 2017.

“In any rate, the cartel is the supreme evil of competition law. 

“MyCC has always given high priority to the investigation and punishment of anti-competitive agreements, especially price and quota cartels, customer or territorial allocation agreements and bid-rigging.

“The perpetrators of these cartels, quite literally, are stealing money from the pocket of businesses and consumers,” he said.

On top of the penalties, MyCC also directed the operators to refrain from engaging in price-fixing agreements in the future.

MyCC also instructed the firms to independently determine their future charges for long length and heavy lift of import and export cargoes.

“This case should send a clear message to all industry players that MyCC will leave no stones unturned in fighting the economic sabotage by the cartels against our open market economy. They should steer clear of such practices. 

“As for those who are already involved in a cartel, should approach the MyCC via leniency regime application or any other appropriate scheme as provided under Competition Act 2010. 

“MyCC’s door is always open for parties who may want to seek for redemption” Iskandar add.