Anyone who has shipped products internationally with a typical freight forwarder is familiar with the litany of questionable charges that appear on the invoice at the end of the process–document fees, fuel surcharges, manifest fees, security charges and more.
Therefore, it was not surprising when a class action lawsuit was launched in June 2013 (Precisions Associates, Inc v. Panalpina World Transport) which claimed that many of these “charges” were the result of a sweeping criminal conspiracy allegedly carried out by most of the world’s major freight forwarding companies.
Below is a partial list of the alleged agreements to impose fraudulent line items on freight forwarding invoices.
- 2001 Security Surcharge Agreement;
- 2002 Fuel Surcharges Agreement;
- 2002 New Export System Fee Agreement;
- U.S. Customs Air “AMS” Charge Agreement (Japanese Defendants’ Conspiracy);
- 2005 Chinese Currency Adjustment Factor Agreement;
- 2005, 2006, and 2007 Peak Season Rate Increase Agreement;
- 2006 Security and Explosives Examination Surcharges Agreement;
- U.S. Customs Air “AMS” Charge Agreement (European Defendants’ Conspiracy);
- U.S. Customs Ocean “AMS” Charge Agreement (Japanese Defendants’ Conspiracy);
According to the latest amendment to the class action lawsuit, certain freight forwarder defendants have already pleaded guilty or entered into plea agreements regarding the price-fixing on these surcharges as alleged in the complaint–including Kuehne + Nagel, Nippon Express, and Hankyu-Hanshin Express.
What’s notable is that these global forwarders are just the ones who’ve already admitted to participating in the conspiracy. The complete list of alleged conspirators runs to nearly a full page, accessible at the bottom of this post, and on the class action website link.
The truth is, the impact of these fraudulent charges goes way beyond the customers directly affected. It is safe to say that nearly every single American alive during specific decade purchased at least one product that was manufactured overseas, and therefore bore a share of this fraud in the form of artificially more expensive products.
Are you an existing / past client of one of the defendant freight forwarders?
If you are (or were) working with any of the companies alleged to be involved in this criminal price-fixing conspiracy, access the case website and add your company’s name to the list on the lawsuit to claim the settlement your business is rightfull owed.
Once your company has joined the class action lawsuit, come sign up for Flexport. We are a new kind of freight forwarder; one focused on long-term value creation for our customers through a combination of technology, high-integrity service, and an unparalleled worldwide service provider network.
From the start, Flexport has pledged to be fully upfront and transparent with our clients. Our mission is to make global trade more accessible by empowering businesses with technology–not to make an extra $50 on each shipment.
In a world where every other freight forwarder is allegedly engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud their customers, we are working towards becoming the most transparent freight forwarder in the world by earning your trust–one shipment at a time.
As promised, here’s a current list of companies allegedly part of this vast criminal conspiracy against their customers.