Transpacific Stabilization Agreement to create a shipper “advisory board”
October 04, 2010
Ocean vessel operators threatened by the recent Federal Maritime Commission’s mandate to investigate pricing practices of cartels are responding by bringing shippers into the fold.
The latest indication that shippers are gaining more leverage comes with the news that carriers comprising the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) are creating a new “advisory board.”
This board, similar to the one put together by the Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement, (WTSA), is designed to provide more transparency in the way carriers determine rates.
For National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) president, Bruce Carlton, it represents “a good start.”
“But we are not sure at all what will be come of it,” he told LM. “The past year has certainly been a high-water mark for tension between shippers and carriers, so anything like can be regarded as positive.”
Still, he said, the League has problems with the limited anti-trust immunity carriers enjoy under the current Shipping Act.
“As you know, we have endorsed the new bill to revise the Act, and hope that by next year, a greater degree of competitiveness will be encouraged. While the bill is far from perfect, we welcome any change that it will introduce.”
The NITL maintains that the current U.S. shipping regulatory system today does not work in the best interests of U.S. businesses that are required to compete in the global market. The League said H.R. 6167 is an “appropriate” first step toward achieving a more robust, competitive and efficient maritime industry. It also added that the bill, “seeks to address recent problems faced by importers and exporters in enforcing service contract obligations in a timely and cost effective manner.”
Prior to the TSA announcement, the NITL conducted a special briefing for members on the provisions and prospects for H.R. 6167 and is scheduling a special meeting of its Ocean Transportation Committee this November in Ft. Lauderdale (in conjunction with its 103rd Annual Meeting/ TransComp Exhibition) to discuss and review the bill.
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