Opposition Grows for Extensions to STB's Antitrust Ratemaking Ruling

Comments have been filed by both the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) and NASSTRAC are against any requests for extension of the deadline that removes antitrust protection for the National Classification Committee (NCC) and a number of motor carrier ratemaking organizations. The deadline was imposed in a May 7 ruling by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) in which it eliminated the antitrust protection for motor carriers to “collectively establish rates, classifications, mileage guides, rules and rate adjustments for general application based on industry average carrier costs.”

For its part, NITL has said it believes the NCC acts in a manner contrary to public interest and that an extended deadline does nothing to guarantee that the NCC won't continue as it has in its classification of products. Classifications set by the NCC establish benchmark pricing points for commodities.

In opposing the extension, John Cutler, NASSTRAC General Counsel, argues that, “Shippers have to be concerned that, with antitrust immunity about to end, carriers could pile on class rate increases and higher commodity classifications. Since none of their extension requests included a commitment to freeze existing class ratings or class rates, NASSTRAC felt it had no choice but to oppose the extension requests."

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