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FMC Launches Inquiry into Pacific Cargo Space and Pricing Practices

September 21, 1998

FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION

FMC Launches Inquiry into Pacific Cargo Space
and Pricing Practices

NR 98-06

Washington, D.C. 20573


FOR RELEASE: SEPTEMBER 21, 1998

The Federal Maritime Commission today announced the initiation of Fact Finding Investigation No. 23, to address allegations of possibly unlawful ocean carrier space allocation and pricing practices involving the inbound Far East to U.S. trades. The Commission has been receiving numerous reports from shippers, particularly non-vessel-operating common carriers, of ocean carriers selectively refusing to provide space for cargo unless the shipper agrees to various forms of carrier demands for substantial rate increases or additional charges.

The proceeding, a nonadjudicatory investigation, is being initiated to gather facts related to these allegations and to report back to the Commission on recommendations for further agency action. The Commission appointed Commissioner Delmond Won to be the Investigative Officer for the proceeding. Commissioner Won was invested with authority to issue subpoenas, require reports and hold sessions as necessary to complete the task, and will be assisted by Commission staff.

Commission Chairman Harold J. Creel, Jr. said: "The entire Commission is very concerned about these reports, which allege potentially unlawful activity on the part of the carriers at this peak shipping season. While this proceeding may ultimately result in prosecutions, our immediate aim is to put a stop to any such unlawful practices. Commissioner Won will begin his investigative activities immediately. I am confident that he will do an effective and thorough job on this extremely pressing matter."

The text of the Commission's five-page Order of Investigation in Fact Finding Investigation No. 23 will be made available in the Public Information - Miscellaneous section of the FMC web site, www.fmc.gov. The Office of Commissioner Won can be reached at (202)523-5721 (tel.) and (202)523-0298 (fax).