Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!

Ocean cargo/global logistics: FMC Scrutinizes Carrier Rates and Capacity

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
June 01, 2010

As the Federal Maritime Commission ramps up its investigation of ocean carrier price-fixing, it is also keeping a vigilant watch on capacity and equipment shortages.
In a speech given before the Virginia Maritime Association last month, FMC commissioner Michael Khouri noted that U.S. exporters of agricultural products are particularly exercised about the impact of capacity limitation, equipment unavailability and rate increases on their ability to compete internationally.

“The capacity, equipment availability and rate increase issues and their impact on U.S. shippers are of great concern to the FMC,” said Khouri. “Last March, the Commissioners voted to initiate a Non-Adjudicatory Fact Finding Investigation into the current conditions concerning vessel and equipment availability in the U.S. export and import liner trades.”

Meanwhile, Khouri and his colleagues are concentrating on rate inflation too.

“Recent reports of increases in annual transpacific contract rates have heightened shipper concerns that these rate hikes are facilitated by carriers using, first, their legal authority to discuss voluntary general rate guidelines with, second, discussions to agree on capacity restriction,” he said. “The first discussion would be legal under the Shipping Act. The second discussions — if they occurred — would be outside of the Shipping Act purview and would therefore be a violation of the Sherman Act.”
While the FMC’s Fact Finding is not focused on the vessel operator’s antitrust immunity, the Commission is mindful of these concerns and plans to closely monitor the carriers’ collective activities. If there is any indication that capacity issues and higher freight rates are credibly linked to any improper use of antitrust immunity by foreign-flag or U.S. flag liner carriers, the Commission will take action, said Khouri. He said shippers may also see renewed attention by Congress and the Administration.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Logistics managers have always been under pressure to strike the right distance between specialized intermediaries and the markets they want to serve. That challenge is becoming increasingly complex, however, as mega-brokerage enterprises capture more share.

There are so many ways to analyze the state of truckload capacity, and on top of that there is, perhaps, no other facet of freight transportation that is so directly impacted by myriad moving parts, whether it be driver availability, rates, demand, weather, the economy, and, of course, federal regulations, among others.

The ATA said that the annualized turnover rate for large truckload carriers, which it defines as truckload fleets with more than $30 million in revenue, increased 3 percent to an annualized rate of 87 percent in the second quarter.

If you want to meet some of the most ticked-off people on the planet, talk to any trucking industry retiree who received that letter from the Teamsters’ Central States pension plan notifying them of their potential financial haircut coming in retirement.

Global express delivery and logistics services provider DHL introduced a new flight geared towards Michigan-based importers and exporters out of the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Article Topics

News · All topics


Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA