Competition Bureau investigation in ocean freight industry results in $1M fine for price-fixing

One Company and Two individuals Plead Guilty

April 8, 2014 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau

Following a Competition Bureau investigation in the ocean freight industry in Canada, two individuals and one company pleaded guilty to two counts each under the criminal conspiracy provision of the Competition Act for their participation in a price-fixing cartel related to various surcharges, including surcharges for currency exchange rate fluctuations and fuel.

Elvio Lancione, Michael Teixeira and ECU Line Canada Inc. (ECU)’s guilty pleas relate to surcharges for the supply of non vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC) export consolidation services from Canada to various foreign destinations between January 1, 2005 and March 6, 2011. They admitted that they agreed or arranged with other participants on the rates, or formulas used to calculate the rates, of various surcharges.

ECU was fined $1 million by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa and is required to set-up a corporate compliance program under the terms of a prohibition order. Elvio Lancione has been sentenced to two concurrent conditional sentences of four months and 30 hours of community service, while Michael Teixeira received two concurrent three-month conditional sentences and 20 hours of community service.

Quick facts

  • Elvio Lancione and Michael Teixeira are both executives of ECU. Elvio Lancione is Executive Vice President and is responsible for operations in Eastern Canada, while Michael Teixeira, Vice President, oversees the operational affairs in Western Canada.
  • NVOCCs arrange the consolidation of less-than-container load shipments into containers, the shipment of these containers by ocean, and the deconsolidation of the containers at the destination.
  • The Bureau began investigating this cartel in December 2009 once it became aware of it by way of its Immunity Program. The investigation is also benefitting from the cooperation of companies and individuals under the Bureau’s Leniency Program, including ECU.
  • Cartels have a negative impact on all Canadians. They deprive customers of such organizations of the benefits of competitive markets, such as lower prices.


"Pursuing those who fix prices, rig bids or engage in other types of cartel activity is a top Bureau priority. Every business in this country is required to act lawfully, and the risks and penalties of NOT complying with the Competition Act and other legislation governing business can be very damaging."

John Pecman, Commissioner of Competition

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The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.