Proponents of a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that seeks to dismantle the Federal Maritime Commission “have absolutely no problem with chucking the democratic process into the trash when it comes to ramming this bill through,” Commission Chairman Joseph Scroggins Jr. told attendees of a meeting of the Atlanta Women in International Trade Sept. 21.

Mr. Scroggins was particularly animated about the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s decision to include H.R. 2149 into its 1996 budget resolution thereby allowing, he said, its proponents to avoid a hearing on the bill as well as a House vote on the merits of the bill itself.

“I cannot think, even begin to imagine how the people can make H.R. 2149 anymore a ‘back door’ deal than this,” he added.  “Now, more than ever, the Senate needs to put a stop to this miscarriage of the legislative process. We need to spread some sunshine over this process.  The Senate as no choice but to conduct open hearings.”

The bill proposes that individual shipping companies negotiate private contracts with exporters and importers and is to eliminate public tariff filing requirements.  Should these proposals be passed, they are likely to result in CONSOLIDATION in the industry into a few nationwide carriers.

Some freight forwarders have objected that with the absence of a federal agency to oversee compliance with U.S. legal requirements, unlicensed carriers will proliferate, reducing the quality of services provided to shippers.

Mr. Scroggins’ office may be reached by calling the Commission at (202) 523-5715.