Ocean carriers are ready to listen
June 11, 2010
As expected, shippers attending the annual conference of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition in San Francisco had plenty to beef about regarding ocean carrier service contracts and capacity restraints. But a conciliatory note was sounded by Brian Conrad, executive administrator of The Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (WTSA), who announced that the cartel would soon be naming a shipper “advisory board” to address its concerns.
At the same time, said Conrad, the WTSA is playing nice with the Federal Maritime Commission, currently investigating this year’s lack of vessel capacity and recurrent equipment shortages.
The speech was especially telling in light of the recent remarks made by the head of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee earlier this week. Rep. James L. Oberstar is now demanding an end to antitrust immunity for vessel operators in the U.S. In his address before the Washington Freight Transportation Policy Forum of the National Industrial Transportation League, he said pricing collusion represents a major threat to an economic rebound reliant on exports.
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