Sep 30, 2022

CCI Issues a Cease-and-Desist Order Against Multiple Trailer Associations

On June 20,2022, the CCI, pursuant to a complaint filed by the National Association of Container Freight Stations, Chennai Chapter (‘Informant’), concluded that Trailer Owners Association (‘OP-1’), Trailer Organisers Association (‘OP-2’), Port Contractors Welfare Association (‘OP-3’), Chennai Trailer Owners Association ( ‘OP-4’), Tamil Nadu Trailer Owners Association (‘OP-5’), Royapuram Trailer Owners Association (‘OP-6’), Interstate Container Transport Owners Association (‘OP-7’), Confederation of Surface Transport, Madhavaram, Chennai (‘OP-8’), Chennai Harbour Trailer Owners Association (‘OP-9’), Chennai Kanchi Rhiruvakkur Trailer Owner Welfare Association (‘OP-10’) (collectively, ‘OPs’) colluded with each other in the fixation of freight tariffs for trailers, and restriction imposed on the Informant and other container freight operators (‘CFO’) in violation of Sections 3(3)(a) and 3(3)(b) of the Competition Act, respectively. [1]

The Informant alleged that the OPs (i) colluded in fixation of freight tariffs for trailers and increased the tariffs without any objective justification. It also did not allow container freight station (‘CFS’) operators to reduce the rate from what was decided by OPs; and (ii) imposed restrictions upon the members of the Informant and their sister concerns by mandating them not to ply more than 20 trailers of their own for movement of containers.

The DG in its investigation found that (i) OPs were part of multiple meetings where the freight tariff rates were discussed, mutually fixed, and increased; (ii) the hike in the rates had no correlation to the rise in price of fuel, insurance, spare, tyres, repair and maintenance, driver salary, etc; and (iii) the restriction of not plying more than 20 trailers amounts to controlling the market of provisions of transport services at Chennai Port.

The CCI noted that fixing prices and restricting provision of services under the aegis of trade associations cannot be held as a legitimate activity under the Competition Act. Accordingly, the CCI directed the OPs to cease and desist from indulging in any anti-competitive practices.


[1] Case No. 04 of 2018.




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