Air Cargo Quarterly
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NMFTA and NCC appeal STB decision terminating antitrust immunity
NMFTA will challenge the STB’s decision in Ex Parte No. 656 Motor Carrier Bureaus—Periodic Review Proceeding, that if allowed to stand, would eliminate the antitrust immunity protecting the NCC’s classification making activities effective January 1, 2008. The NMFTA and NCC filed their appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on July 2, 2007.Since 1996, the STB, as the successor to the Interstate Commerce Commission, has been the administrative agency responsible for oversight of the NCC’s collective classification making activities.
“We believe this decision is flawed and clearly contrary to the intent of Congress and it has a very good chance of being overturned,” stated Bill Pugh, Secretary of the NCC and Executive Director of the NMFTA.
We are appealing the STB’s attempt to remove the NCC’s antitrust immunity because this immunity enables the NCC the flexibility to provide many services that are in the interests of its members, and the transportation community. If the NCC’s antitrust immunity is terminated, we will, of course, make the modifications in our procedures as necessary to operate without immunity. In any event, the Classification making process will continue because over many years the NMFC has proven to work well for carriers, shippers and all concerned.
The NMFC classifies all the goods and materials transported by truck in North America. The Classification is a valuable tool that facilitates comparisons of the transportability of commodities moving in intrastate, interstate, and foreign commerce. Commodities are assigned one of 18 classes—from a low of 50 to a high of 500—based on four transportation characteristics: density, stowability, handling and liability. The NMFC is a standard that governs motor carrier pricing systems. The price for shipping goods is determined by referring to the classes included in the NMFC in combination with motor carrier rate schedules, which are in turn dependent on factors such as shipment weight and the route and distance over which the shipment moves.
The NMFC also includes packaging requirements for each type of commodity to ensure adequate protection for products moving in LTL motor carrier service. In order to use the provisions of the NMFC, motor carriers must become participants and they can only do so through NMFTA.
The classification provisions of the NMFC are developed and maintained by the National Classification Committee (NCC), an autonomous standing committee of 100 carrier representatives who are elected to represent the over 1,100 motor carriers participating in the NMFC.
NMFTA is a non-profit membership association representing 1,100 less-than-truckload carriers throughout North America and headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.
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