BATAM Fast Ferry and Penguin Ferry Services, previously the only operators of passenger ferry services between Singapore (HarbourFront) and Sekupang and Batam Centre, have been fined by the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) for engaging in anti-competitive practices.
Hit with fines of S$172,906 (US$138,000) and S$113,860 respectively, the two ferry operators were found to have infringed Section 34 of Singapore's Competition Act, which prohibits, among other things, agreements and/or concerted practices which prevent, restrict or distort competition.
Following up on a complaint by a member of the public in October 2009, CCS discovered that Batam Fast Ferry and Penguin Ferry Services had exchanged sensitive and confidential information relating to ferry ticket pricing, including quotations to clients.
There were instances of emails which were blind copied from one ferry operator to another in relation to confidential price information sent to clients, and instances of mutual price verification when clients requested for quotes for the purchase of ferry tickets.
The unlawful conduct involved ferry tickets sold to corporate clients and travel consultants, but excluded ferry tickets sold over the counter at published rates.
The duration of the infringing conduct for ferry tickets sold to corporate clients was from November 9, 2007 to November 17, 2009. For ferry tickets sold to travel consultants, the duration was from June 17, 2008 to May 20, 2009.