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Pressler Introduces Ocean Shipping Reform Act

Proposal would axe FMC In the first week of November, Senator Larry Pressler (R- S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, introduced legislation designed to deregulate the U.S. ocean shipping industry and eliminate the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). The deregulation would be phased in through January 1, 1998.

The measure, dubbed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 1995, would transfer the duties of the defunct FMC to the Department of Transportation as soon as would be practical in FY '96. The measure would also eliminate government tariff and contract filing requirements, as well as government tariff enforcement and regulation, effective June 1, 1997. Under the measure, shippers and carriers would be allowed to enter into confidential service contracts; and independent rate actions on contracts would also be allowable, effective June 1, 1998. "This bill would produce an ocean transportation system that is up to the task of meeting the demands of U.S. businesses which strive to be competitive in the global marketplace ... This phased-in timetable provides for a common sense approach for getting the fed- eral government out of the business of regulating commercial practices which are better left to the private sector to administer," said Sen. Pressler.

The proposed Ocean Shipping Reform Act was created to strengthen U.S. laws against unfair competition by foreign shipping companies. The measure is a companion measure to legislation approved by the House of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on August 2, 1995.

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