The Chairman of the Office Upheld the Decision in Carpathia Cartel Case, One of the Fines Subject to Reassessment

2021-01-28
The Chairman of the Office, Petr Mlsna, upheld the decision on a prohibited agreement in the field of rail freight transport, the so-called Carpathia Cartel. The Chairman of the Office upheld the first-instance decision of June 2020 on the merits, only the operative part of the decision on the fine amounting to CZK 10,000,000 imposed on ARGO LOGISTICS, s. r. o. was cancelled and the amount of fine shall be subject to reassessment of the first instance as its level was not sufficiently justified.

Petr Mlsna commented on the case as follows. “This case represents the so-called hard core restriction of the competition. These cartel agreements always distort the competition per se and are considered as the most serious threat to effective competition.”

According to the decision, AWT Čechofracht a.s., INTERFRACHT s.r.o., ARGO LOGISTICS, s.r.o., SPEDICA, s.r.o. and Rail Cargo Austria AG entered into a prohibited agreement in connection to rail freight projects called Carpathia, Sylvania and New Carpathia. On the basis of secret illegal cooperation, they allocated their customers and goods transport contracts, coordinated prices for these services and exchanged sensitive information. The cartel agreement distorted competition in the market of rail freight transport and forwarding services and was able to affect trade between the EU Member States as well. Rail freight transport companies in question infringed not only the Czech Competition Act but also Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The anticompetitive conduct of undertakings lasted between 2004 and 2013 (SPEDICA between 2008 and 2010, INTERFRACHT between 2010 and 2013). Cartel members entered into an agreement on cooperation concerning allocating of tenders. They operated reservation system in order to inform each other on the individual booked transport and their prices disabling the other participant of the agreement to offer lower price. Cartel members allocated their customers and coordinated their approach towards them.

Only INTERFRACHT and ARGO LOGISTICS filed an appeal against the first-instance decision. The Chairman of the Office dismissed their objections to a large extent; he considered only the objection of ARGO LOGISTICS on disproportionate fine as justified. This part of the decision was cancelled and the first instance will decide on the fine again.

 

Fines imposed

Rail Cargo Austria AG                                   fine not imposed (leniency)

AWT Čechofracht a.s.                                   CZK 1,826,000 (leniency II)

INTERFRACHT s.r.o.                                    CZK 2,357,000 (confirmed)

SPEDICA, s.r.o.                                             CZK 4,243,000 (settlement)

ARGO LOGISTICS, s.r.o.                              fine subject to reassessment of the first instance          

 

Press Unit of the Office

21/016

2022-09-22 / Reduced Fine for Aroma Candle Distributor, and, for the First Time, the Office Took the Compliance Program into Account The Office for the Protection of Competition (hereinafter referred to as “the Office“) imposed a fine of CZK 17,649,000 on the undertaking Z - TRADE s. r. o. for entering into prohibited agreements...

2022-09-15 / Price Caps in the Energy Sector Do Not Mean Tolerance of Cartels, Says Petr Mlsna, Chairman of the Office for the Protection of Competition The Office for the Protection of Competition (hereinafter referred to as "the Office") understands the necessity of capping energy prices, but, at the same time, warns that it will not tolerate price...

2022-09-12 / The Office Imposed Fines of CZK 280 Million on Undertakings Specialised in Issuing Food Stamps for Anti-Competitive Coordination of Terms of Trade In its first-instance decision, although not in force, the Office for the Protection of Competition (hereinafter referred to as "the Office") imposed fines in the total amount of CZK 279,152,000 on Sodexo...

2022-08-25 / The Office Imposed Maximum Possible Fines for Obstruction of a Dawn Raid The Office for the Protection of Competition (hereinafter referred to as "the Office") has imposed the maximum possible fines on three undertakings suspected of being involved in a cartel agreement for...

2022-07-29 / Annual Report 2021 The Office for the Protection of Competition (hereinafter referred to as “the Office”) publishes the English version of its Annual Report for the year 2021, during which it not only celebrated 30...

2022-07-07 / Sewing machines supplier STRIMA agreed with a settlement procedure and was thus imposed a lower fine for vertical agreements In its first-instance decision, the Office for the Protection of Competition (hereinafter referred to as “the Office”) imposed a fine of CZK 4 446 000 on STRIMA CZECH s.r.o. for entering into prohibited...

2022-03-23 / The Office imposed fines for cartel of AV equipment suppliers By its first-instance decision, the Office for the Protection of Competition imposed fines in the total amount of CZK 2 442 000 on the undertakings AV MEDIA SYSTEMS, a.s., M plus spol. s r.o., Nowatron...

2022-03-22 / Joint statement by the European Copmpetition Network on the application of competition law in the context of the war in Ukraine The European Competition Network (ECN), which connects the competition authorities of the EU Member States, has issued a joint statement on the application of competition rules in the context of the...

If you want to recieve news by email please give us your adress and choose topic.

Email:
Significant Market Power
Public Procurement
State Aid
Competition
cs | en
+420 542 167 111 · posta@uohs.cz