Domestic Oceangoing Shipping: Information on the Surface Transportation Board's Regulatory Processes   [open pdf - 769KB]

From the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Objectives, Scope, and Methodology: "House Report 116-452, incorporated by reference into the explanatory statement accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, contained a provision for GAO to examine STB's [Surface Transportation Board's] regulation of domestic oceangoing transportation, including its process to regulate rate reasonableness. We also examined other agencies' processes related to rate reasonableness that might inform STB's processes for domestic oceangoing transportation. This briefing describes: (1) STB's authorities and processes related to regulating domestic oceangoing transportation and (2) the processes selected agencies have for regulating rates in other markets and contexts. To address these objectives, we reviewed relevant statutes, regulations, STB reports, three STB rate reasonableness complaint-related cases involving domestic oceangoing carriers, and processes selected agencies have for regulating rates. We interviewed officials and representatives from: STB; selected agencies--three federal, two state, and one territorial; and industry entities, including shippers and domestic oceangoing carriers. We selected our interviewees based on multiple factors, including whether they regulate rates and geographic diversity. The information we obtained from these interviews provides a broad perspective of relevant issues but is not generalizable to all entities."

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