Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


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

image
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

image
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

FTR says both spot rates and contract rates are heading up in a full capacity environment and with the fall shipping season rapidly approaching, it explained conditions for shippers could further deteriorate.

Read how others are using Business Process Management to achieve ERP success with Microsoft Dynamics AX. Download the free white paper now.

Now that Congress has issued another highway funding Band-Aid – a $10.9 billion highway bill through next May that former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood blasted as “totally inadequate” – what can we expect as the infamously do-nothing 113th Congress winds down in the next month before taking yet another recess to prep for the mid-term elections?

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in July headed up 1.3 percent on the heels of a 0.8 percent increase in June. The ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, was 133.3 in July, which outpaced June’s 132.3 by 0.8 percent, and was up 2.8 percent annually.

Volumes for the month of July at the Port of Long Beach (POLB) and the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) were mixed, according to data recently issued by the ports. Unlike May and June, which saw higher than usual seasonal volumes, due to the West Coast port labor situation, July was down as retailers had completed filling inventories for back-to-school shopping.

Article Topics

News · All topics

Comments

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


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA