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46 U.S. Code § 40502 - Service contracts

(a) In General.—
An individual ocean common carrier or an agreement between or among ocean common carriers may enter into a service contract with one or more shippers subject to the requirements of this part.
(b) Filing Requirements.—
(1) In general.—
Each service contract entered into under this section by an individual ocean common carrier or an agreement shall be filed confidentially with the Federal Maritime Commission.
(2) Exceptions.—
Paragraph (1) does not apply to contracts regarding bulk cargo, forest products, recycled metal scrap, new assembled motor vehicles, waste paper, or paper waste.
(c) Essential Terms.—Each service contract shall include—
the origin and destination port ranges;
the origin and destination geographic areas in the case of through intermodal movements;
the commodities involved;
the minimum volume or portion;
the line-haul rate;
the duration;
service commitments;
the liquidated damages for nonperformance, if any; and
any other essential terms that the Federal Maritime Commission determines necessary or appropriate through a rulemaking process.
(d) Publication of Certain Terms.—
When a service contract is filed confidentially with the Commission, a concise statement of the essential terms specified in paragraphs (1), (3), (4), and (6) of subsection (c) shall be published and made available to the general public in tariff format.
(e) Disclosure of Certain Terms.—
(1) Definitions.—
In this subsection, the terms “dock area” and “within the port area” have the same meaning and scope as in the applicable collective bargaining agreement between the requesting labor organization and the carrier.
(2) Disclosure.—An ocean common carrier that is a party to or is otherwise subject to a collective bargaining agreement with a labor organization shall, in response to a written request by the labor organization, state whether it is responsible for the following work at a dock area or within a port area in the United States with respect to cargo transportation under a service contract:
The movement of the shipper’s cargo on a dock area or within the port area or to or from railroad cars on a dock area or within the port area.
The assignment of intraport carriage of the shipper’s cargo between areas on a dock or within the port area.
The assignment of the carriage of the shipper’s cargo between a container yard on a dock area or within the port area and a rail yard adjacent to the container yard.
The assignment of container freight station work and container maintenance and repair work performed at a dock area or within the port area.
(3) Within reasonable time.—
The common carrier shall provide the information described in paragraph (2) to the requesting labor organization within a reasonable period of time.
(4) Existence of collective bargaining agreement.—
This subsection does not require the disclosure of information by an ocean common carrier unless there exists an applicable and otherwise lawful collective bargaining agreement pertaining to that carrier. A disclosure by an ocean common carrier may not be deemed an admission or an agreement that any work is covered by a collective bargaining agreement. A dispute about whether any work is covered by a collective bargaining agreement and the responsibility of an ocean common carrier under a collective bargaining agreement shall be resolved solely in accordance with the dispute resolution procedures contained in the collective bargaining agreement and the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 151 et seq.), and without reference to this subsection.
(5) Effect under other laws.—
This subsection does not affect the lawfulness or unlawfulness under this part or any other Federal or State law of any collective bargaining agreement or element thereof, including any element that constitutes an essential term of a service contract.
(f) Remedy for Breach.—
Unless the parties agree otherwise, the exclusive remedy for a breach of a service contract is an action in an appropriate court. The contract dispute resolution forum may not be controlled by or in any way affiliated with a controlled carrier or by the government that owns or controls the carrier.

Historical and Revision Notes



Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)


46 App.:1707(c)(1) (1st sentence).

Pub. L. 98–237, § 8(c), Mar. 20, 1984, 98 Stat. 75; restated Pub. L. 105–258, title I, § 106(b), Oct. 14, 1998, 112 Stat. 1905.


46 App.:1707(c)(2) (1st sentence).


46 App.:1707(c)(2) (last sentence).


46 App.:1707(c)(3).


46 App.:1707(c)(4).


46 App.:1707(c)(1) (2d, last sentences).

In subsection (e)(5), the words “the National Labor Relations Act [29 U.S.C. 151 et seq.], the Taft-Hartley Act [29 U.S.C. 141 et seq.], the Federal Trade Commission Act [15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.], the antitrust laws” are omitted as unnecessary because of the reference to “any other Federal or State law”.

Editorial Notes
References in Text

The National Labor Relations Act, referred to in subsec. (e)(4), is act July 5, 1935, ch. 372, 49 Stat. 449, which is classified generally to subchapter II (§ 151 et seq.) of chapter 7 of Title 29, Labor. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 167 of Title 29 and Tables.


2022—Subsec. (c)(9). Pub. L. 117–146 added par. (9).