Anti-cartel bill tabled in US congress

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The FTA has welcomed the latest milestone in the passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Bill that has now been tabled in the US congress.

The bill proposes European style anti-trust legislation in the US to eliminate cartel activity, including price-fixing, liner conferences and discussion agreements in US liner shipping markets.

Congressmen Oberstar and Cummings tabled the bill on 23rd September, after the FTA and the US National Industrial Transport League initiated talks on the issue in 1992.

The league has supported Congressman Oberstar’s 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.

Chris Welsh, the 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.”

The FTA reckon that cartels have been behind cynical rate increases, unfair and deceptive surcharges, capacity shortages and other unacceptable shipping practices that have come to characterise the liner shipping industry in the past year. This has exacerbated current tough trading conditions due to the recession.

Welsh said: “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.”

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