LH Cargo confirmed an out-of-court agreement with Deutsche Bahn AG, settling allegations of unlawful price collusion. The claims go back to an indictment from 2014, in which the railway company demanded compensation payments of more than 2 billion euros from Lufthansa, Air France, LATAM, and other carriers for illegal price fixing to the detriment of their logistics arm DB Schenker.
Two billion euros – that is the amount DB Schenker had paid in excess to freight airlines, resulting from price arrangements amongst the cartel members between 1999 and 2006, claims Deutsche
Bahn, evidenced by documents submitted to courts.
Despite being fierce competitors, the cartel members acted jointly over years, secretly agreeing on price fixing arrangements to the benefit of all but financially extremely harmful for forwarders and ultimately shippers and consumers. The cartel participants were: Air Canada, Air France-KLM, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, LATAM Cargo, Lufthansa Cargo, Swiss, and Japan Airlines.
DB claims of nearly €900 million are still pending decision
Meanwhile, AF-KLM has settled the case extrajudicially, paying 60 million euros to Schenker parent Deutsche Bahn. This week, Lufthansa and its affiliate Swiss followed suit, agreeing to pay an amount “well below 50 million euros,” credible sources close to the case told CargoForwarder Global.
A Lufthansa Cargo speaker approached by CargoForwarder Global, rejected details, referring to a confidentiality agreement signed by his airline and Deutsche Bahn.
Following the agreement with the Lufthansa Group, including Swiss, claims of around €900 million against six remaining airlines are still pending settlement, either by court decision or in form of amicable agreements.
The lawsuit filed by Schenker parent DB has been joined by eight unnamed freight forwarding agents all claiming compensation from cargo airlines for having demanded excessive high tariffs for air freight shipments over a period of seven years.