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Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Amending the Shipping Act.

October 04, 1961

I HAVE signed H.R. 6775, "An Act to amend the Shipping Act, 1916, as amended, to authorize ocean common carriers and conferences thereof serving the foreign commerce of the United States to enter into effective dual rate contracts with shippers and consignees, and for other purposes."

The bill is designed to accomplish two necessary and important objectives. First, it legalizes, subject to several limitations, the use of so-called "dual rate" systems, whereby a common carrier, or conference of common carriers, in foreign commerce give a rate reduction of up to 15 percent to shippers or consignees who agree to give all or any fixed portion of their patronage to such carrier or conference. Secondly, it provides for advance filing of rate increases and otherwise buttresses and enlarges the Commission's regulatory responsibilities over common carriers by water in the foreign commerce of the United States.

The safeguards established in the legislation to protect shippers and carriers against any abuses that might arise from agreements made under the authority of this bill will be fully enforced. The bill requires the Federal Maritime Commission to disapprove conference agreements it finds unjustly discriminatory, detrimental to the United States commerce, contrary to the public interest or in violation of the Shipping Act of 1916. These standards will permit the Maritime Commission to insure the continuing competition and service among carriers without undue prejudice to those operating independently of the conference. If experience under the law demonstrates that additional protection or additional regulatory authority is necessary, it will be requested. In the meantime, I am requesting the Federal Maritime Commission to keep the subject matter under continuing consideration.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 6775 is Public Law 87-346 (75 Stat. 762).

John F. Kennedy, Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Amending the Shipping Act. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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