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Ocean carriers are ready to listen

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
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.

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).

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