DB seeks $2.5B damages over air cargo cartel

Treble damages could increase the total risks for sued airlines up to more than US$3.3 billion


Air & Cargo Services air cargo Air Cargo Asia air cargo cartel air cargo freight Air Forwarding Air France air freight Air Freight Asia Air Freight Logistics air freighter air freighting Air Logistics Asia Air Shipping Asia airlines cargo airways cargo asia cargo news cargo aviation Cargolux Deutsche Bahn KLM Martinair Qantas Schenker


Schenker AG, the logistics subsidiary of German railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB), will seek damages estimated at US$2.5 billion — approximately US$370 million in the US and US$2.19 billion in Germany including interest — from air cargo carriers found guilty by the US Department of Justice, the European Commission and other international authorities for operating a global price-fixing cartel. The US portion could increase to an estimated US$1.1 billion if the court awards treble damages in the case.

Schenker AG is the latest international freight forwarder to pursue civil litigation in an effort to recover significant damages from air cargo carriers that conspired to fix fuel and security surcharges from 1999 until 2006. In August, Schenker filed a complaint against Air France, KLM, Martinair, Cargolux, Qantas, SAS and All Nippon Airways in the Eastern District of New York. The complaint alleges that, in coordinating surcharge pricing for shipments to, from and within the US, the airlines violated US antitrust laws. All defendants named in the Schenker AG complaint pleaded guilty in Department of Justice proceedings.

The German lawsuit, filed in December 2013 in Cologne, alleges defendants Deutsche Lufthansa, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Swiss Airlines, Cargolux, SAS, Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines and Qantas were involved in the same conspiracy affecting airfreight shipments worldwide.

A number of air cargo carriers in the US entered into settlement agreements both with class action plaintiffs and individual claimants in order to avoid protracted civil lawsuits. Schenker AG agreed to settlements with some carriers but opted out of the settlement agreements by the named defendants in connection with the class action lawsuit.



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