US Carriers Ask Government To Enforce Cargo Competition Rule

Commenting on a White House plan to "reduce the burden of government regulation," American President Lines (APL) and Sea-Land have asked the government to expand the Wilson-Weeks Agreement which bars government owned and operated vessels from competing with commercial ships.

The nation's two largest container operators said that the 1954 Wilson- Weeks Agreement between the Departments of Defense (DOD) and Commerce, "has generally been adhered to, but sometimes improperly deviated from by the government." The companies proposed to "confirm and clarify" guidelines for utilizing DOD operated vessels by limiting their scope of operations to the rapid deployment of supplies, acting as depot ships and to cases where commercial shipping is otherwise unavailable.

Continuing in their effort to revise U.S. maritime legislation and policy, APL and Sea-Land recommended regulatory action on vessel design, manning levels, operating and equipment standards and new tax incentives.

Refering to the Maritime Administration's capitol construction fund, APL and Sea-Land are asking for "modern approaches to vessel financing," such as the ability to make payments on long-term leases with withdrawals from the fund.

Both companies would like to see U.S. maritime regulatory policy on a level more closely aligned to international standards.

APL and Sea-Land warned that unless the government updates its maritime policies by 1995, they would begin divesting themselves of the U.S. flag registry.

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