Remarks of Commissioner Dye, European Maritime Law Organization, 24th Annual Conference
Commissioner Rebecca Dye Panel Keynote Speaker
“Developments in International Oversight of Shipping”
European Maritime Law Organization’s (EMLO) 24th Annual Conference
In her keynote comments, as part of a panel of international shipping competition experts at the EMLO conference in London, Commissioner Dye began with a brief overview of the main U.S. liner shipping statutes including the 1916 Shipping Act, the Shipping Act of 1984 and the revisions introduced by the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 1998. The Commissioner noted that the 1998 reforms “liberating service contracting from conference regulation, and endorsing confidential contract rates and terms had DOJ’s Antitrust Division’s full support.” And added that the OSRA approach was quickly adopted by the Directorate General for Competition for the European trades.
A good portion of the Commissioner’s remarks were devoted to discussing the similarities between the Federal Maritime Commission’s approach to reviewing and monitoring carrier agreements and the merger review procedures followed by the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. “The standard we use – the so-called 6(g) standard – protects against substantial reductions in competition.” noted the Commissioner.“It is closely analogous to section 7 of the Clayton Act of 1914. That is to say, it closely parallels the goals of traditional U.S. antitrust laws.”
In response to a question about upcoming FMC activities, Commissioner Dye spoke briefly about the proposed exemption that would relieve carriers of the burden of filing service contracts and contract amendments with the agency, and the fact finding investigation she is leading on demurrage and detention practices. Regarding the former, the Commissioner mentioned that in 2017 over 47,000 original contracts and 76,000 amendments were filed with the Commission. “In light of those numbers,” the Commissioner answered, “I believe the petition merits serious consideration.”