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FMC & DoJ Sign MoU on Antitrust Issues

Closer ties between the Federal Maritime Commission and the Department of Justice Antitrust Division are expected as the agencies continue to discuss and review law enforcement and regulatory matters affecting competition in the shipping industry.

The FMC and the DoJ recently signed an interagency Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) to foster increased cooperation and communication in their respective oversight and enforcement responsibilities of the ocean liner shipping industry.

FMC Chairman Daniel Maffei and Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard Powers signed the first-ever MOU between the two agencies on July 12. The MOU comes in succession to the Executive Order addressing competition issued Friday, July 9 by President Biden.

The MOU establishes a framework for the FMC and the Antitrust Division to continue regular discussions and review law enforcement and regulatory matters affecting competition in the shipping industry. The MOU also provides for information and expertise exchanges between the agencies that may be relevant and useful in meeting their oversight and enforcement responsibilities. Such exchanges would be conducted in a manner appropriate and consistent with applicable legal and confidentiality restrictions.

“The Federal Maritime Commission has an important enforcement role as an economic regulator of a vital industry. As such, we will continually assess how the agency can improve its capacity to protect the integrity of the marketplace. This memorandum between the Commission and the Department of Justice supplements and strengthens the FMC’s ability to detect, address, and pursue violations of the law or anticompetitive behavior by those we regulate,” said Chairman Maffei.

“Collaboration between the Antitrust Division and the FMC is important to ensuring healthy competition in the maritime industry,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Powers. “Our partnership with the FMC is one of the many ways in which the Antitrust Division is prepared to play its role in achieving the competition objectives of the President’s Competition Executive Order.”

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