46 CFR 545.1 - Interpretation of Shipping Act of 1984 - Refusal to negotiate with shippers' associations.
(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.