The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has heralded the introduction of European-style, anti-trust legislation designed to eliminate cartel activity, including price-fixing, liner conferences and discussion agreements in US liner shipping markets.
The Bill, which was tabled by Congressmen Oberstar and Cummings last night (23 September), marks a significant step in a process that the US National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) and FTA initiated in 1992.
Chris Welsh, FTA’s General Manager of Global and European Affairs, said:
"Make no mistake, these legislative steps represent an historic landmark in the abolition of the sorts of unacceptable cartel activity that have plagued shippers around the world and caused such disruption to the global supply chain."
There is no doubt that cartels have been behind the cynical rate increases, unfair or deceptive surcharges, capacity shortages and other unacceptable shipping practices that have come to characterise the liner shipping industry in the past year. And this comes at a time when trading conditions are already tough enough.
The NITL has been a prime mover behind Congressman Oberstar’s new Ocean Shipping Reform Bill following unprecedented complaints from US shippers over "roll overs", the tearing up of service contracts and capacity withdrawals by carriers in the Trans-Pacific trades.
"Reforming international ocean shipping was never going to be a quick win, but it is immensely satisfying to see the seeds we planted nearly twenty years ago bearing such fruit.
"Our attention is now firmly fixed on seeing the safe passage of the Ocean Reform Bill through Congress, and imposing the same sorts of legislation in fast emerging economies such as those found in Asia."