David v. Goliath: Tug Operators Score Win Over Big Ocean Carriers

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Posted January 6, 2019

The harbor services industry is starting off the new year with a gift from Congress.

Not long before adjourning for the holidays, lawmakers approved legislation that would resolve a problem that was infuriating tug operators who provide services to the big ocean carriers.

As a result of massive consolidations in the blue water industry that have placed power in the hands of fewer and larger shipping lines, these mega carrier conglomerates formed alliances that have tried to jointly negotiate contracts to purchase towing services. Several had filed agreements with the Federal Maritime Commission seeking collective negotiation authority.