46 CFR 545.1 - Interpretation of Shipping Act of 1984
(a) 8(c) of the Shipping Act of 1984 (“the Act”) (46 U.S.C. 40502) authorizes ocean common carriers and agreements between or among ocean common carriers to enter into a service contract with a shippers' association, subject to the requirements of the Act. Section 10(b)(10) of the Act (46 U.S.C. 41104(10)) prohibits carriers from unreasonably refusing to deal or negotiate. Section 7(a)(2) of the Act (46 U.S.C. 40307(a)(3)) exempts from the antitrust laws any activity within the scope of that Act, undertaken with a reasonable basis to conclude that it is pursuant to a filed and effective agreement.
(b) The Federal Maritime Commission interprets these provisions to establish that a common carrier or conference may not require a shippers' association to obtain or apply for a Business Review Letter from the Department of Justice prior to or as part of a service contract negotiation process.