A bill that would eliminate antitrust immunity from ocean carriers is not a “sound proposal” and would cause more volatility in rates and make trading with the U.S. more costly and less efficient, the World Shipping Council said Thursday.
The liner shipping industry’s trade association offered its critique of the Ocean Shipping Act of 2010, which was filed Sept. 28 by Rep. James L. Oberstar, D-Minn., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The bill would eliminate carriers’ ability to meet and discuss rate guidelines, although they could still participate in vessel sharing arrangements to improve capacity.
The WSC said that such a substantial change in ocean shipping’s regulatory structure would destabilize the industy, and lead to fewer choices for shippers, less capacity, lower quality of service and higher costs for U.S. importers and exporters.
The proposed bill would also have the Federal Maritime Commission play a more intrusive regulatory role in existing market-based relationships between carriers and shippers.
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