U.S., EUROPEAN, ASIAN SHIPPERS WELCOME OECD ANTITRUST REVIEW
The National Industrial Transportation League, and large shippers’ groups in Europe and Asia, operating under the Tripartite Shippers Group, have filed a joint statement supporting the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s upcoming review of ocean carriers’ anti-trust immunity.
The OECD’s discussion paper, which will be used at the organization’s May 25-26 Paris meeting, “serves (as) a useful tool for advancing a much-needed debate over the need for antitrust immunity for liner carriers,” the Tripartite Shippers Group said. “Rather than ignoring this important subject, the paper properly questions whether blanket exemptions should be accorded to organized groups of carriers.”
The shippers’ groups said that international companies in other industries operate without the privilege of antitrust immunity that liner carriers enjoy.
“No other industry is afforded the legal privilege to engage in collective rate setting,” the Tripartite Shippers Group said.
The group comprises the NIT League, the Japan Shippers’ Council, the European Shippers’ Council, the Canadian Shippers’ Council, the Canadian Industrial Transportation Association, the Hong Kong Shippers’ Council, the Korean Shippers’ Council, the Singapore National Shippers’ Council, the Thai National Shippers’ Council and the Federation of ASEAN Shippers’ Councils.
The NIT League also filed a separate statement welcoming the review, but at the same time said that the Ocean Shipping Reform Act should be given more time to work, before formal changes in the antitrust laws are contemplated in the United States.
But, the NIT League said “particular attention” must be focused on voluntary guideline agreements. “If at some point in the future it is determined that the so-called voluntary guidelines are, in effect, mandatory guidelines, the league will have to revisit this question and the regulations under which these agreements operate.”