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DTL has exchanged illegal information with its members – case decided upon by the Competition appeals board

14. december 2008

On the 17th of December 2008 the Danish Competition Council (DCC) decided on a case concerning exchange of information by an association of undertakings which had as object to restrict competition. The case regarded the Danish freight transport association, Dansk Transport og Logistik (DTL), which has created and published (i) a pre-fulfilled cost calculating program for freight transport by road, (ii) has stated a profit ratio on 10 respectively 15 percent in some pre-fulfilled examples of the cost calculating program, (iii) has published a cost forecast for freight transport by road as well as (iv) an electronic calculating program concerning price increases on oil and (v) has continuously requested the transportation companies to regulate (or introduce) a so-called “oil clause” in their transport contracts and recommended the transportation companies to pass on a specific insurance cost.

The DCC decided that the exchange of information by DTL had as its object to restrict competition by coordinating the conduct of the members and thereby unifying member’s prices. In continuation hereof, the DCC found that the information provided by DTL to its members conflicts with section 6 of the Danish Competition Act.

The relevant market in the current case is defined as domestic freight forwarding services by road in Denmark.

DTL is the largest association for Danish transport companies transporting freight by road including approximately 3.100 members. The purpose of DTL is to handle political and economic interests of the Danish transport and logistic industry. Beyond this, DTL also advices its members individually on legal and economic matters as well as elaborating general guidelines for its members.

DTL appealed the case to the Competition Appeals Board. The CAB repealed the DCC’s decision regarding DTL’s (i) pre-fulfilled cost calculating program for freight transport by road, (ii) that DTL had stated a profit ratio on 10 respectively 15 percent in some pre-fulfilled examples of the cost calculating program, (iv) DTL’s electronic calculating program concerning price increases on oil and (v) DTL’s requests to the transportation companies to regulate (or introduce) a so-called “oil clause” in their transport contracts. The CAB stated that ITD’s recommendations was of a general nature and did not concern the passing on of specific costs.

The CAB upheld the DCC’s decision regarding that (iii) DTL had published a cost forecast for freight transport by road and (v) recommended the transportation companies to pass on a specific insurance cost to their customers.