Proposed legislation would give marine regulator antitrust powers

This article originally appeared on

proposed legislation

MAY 10, 2023 — U.S. Representative John Garamendi has introduced legislation aimed at giving the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) the power to undertake antitrust investigations of vessel sharing agreements (VSAs) among ocean carriers.

The bill aims to strengthen the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA 22), which has given the FMC greater powers to scrutinize the ocean carrier industry.

However, OSRA 22 did not have any provision that would enable the FMC to undertake antitrust investigations into VSAs, which have long raised suspicions of collusion in government circles.

The proposed law does not seek to ban ocean carrier alliances, but only to speed up the investigatory process for shippers who suspect their charges may have been illegally increased by collusion between carriers.

Currently, the FMC is required by law to seek a Federal Court Order before it can block what may be an anticompetitive agreement between two or more ocean carriers.

The proposed legislation would enable the FMC to bypass that step and undertake antitrust investigations without Court approval.

“This bipartisan bill would allow the FMC to block any agreements among ocean carriers and marine terminal operators determined to be unreasonably anticompetitive without having to first obtain a federal court order,” Mr. Garamendi’s office said.

But John Butler, President and Chief Executive of the World Shipping Council, opposed Mr Garamendi’s proposal, saying that “nobody has offered a reason why we should throw away such a useful tool as vessel sharing arrangements.”

He suggested that some of “the rhetoric comes from a misunderstanding about how VSAs help the supply chain work better” and that “we look forward to working with the bill’s sponsors to better understand their policy objectives.”

The proposed legislation was welcomed by Federal Maritime Commissioners Max Vekich and Carl W. Bentzel, who had jointly requested that the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure make this change in federal law.

Commissioner Bentzel referred to the bill as a “vital fix” while Commissioner Vekich said it will “simplify the process” by which the FMC reviews agreements among ocean carriers.

Follow us on social media for the latest updates in B2B!



skilled trades career
A Skilled Trades Career Provides a Future-Proof Path
July 18, 2024

In today’s rapidly changing job market, a skilled trades career offers a viable and attractive option, especially for the younger generations exploring alternatives to traditional college education. Recent trends indicate a significant shift in interest in these hands-on professions. On Straight Outta Crumpton, host Greg Crumpton engages in a lively conversation with Nicole Bass,…

Read More
HVAC careers
How to Bridge the Gap in HVAC Careers Through Education and Inclusion: Insights from Nicole Bass
July 18, 2024

In the dynamic world of skilled trades, the HVAC industry is witnessing a significant transformation driven by leaders like Nicole Bass. With a growing emphasis on practical education and the shift in generational perspectives towards career choices, the discussion around HVAC careers is more relevant than ever. Today, we delve into the inspiring journey…

Read More
Truckpedia Modernize Trucking Operations and Build Robust Presence with Innovation
July 18, 2024

The trucking industry, valued at over $940 billion annually, remains one of the most traditional and least technologically advanced sectors. Small trucking companies, which constitute 95.8% of the industry, often struggle to scale and compete due to outdated practices and limited resources. These companies need innovative solutions to modernize their operations and build a robust…

Read More
personal fulfillment
Personal Fulfillment with Margaret Weniger | Ep. 9 | Growthwell with Josh Byrd
July 18, 2024

Balancing professional success and personal well-being has become increasingly critical in the modern workforce. In the wake of the pandemic, many individuals are re-evaluating their career paths to find roles that offer both professional growth and personal fulfillment. According to a survey by The Muse, 75% of respondents are planning to look for a…

Read More