Summary: H.R.6503 — 95th Congress (1977-1978)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House with amendment(s) (06/30/1977)

(Reported to House from the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries with amendment, H. Rept. 95-474)

Amends the Intercoastal Shipping Act, 1933, to require water carriers to file general increases or decreases in rates with the Federal Maritime Commission 60 days before the effective date of such rate change. Defines general increase or decrease in rates as increases or decreases of 50 percent or more of the total rate, fare, or charge items in the tariffs per trade of common carriers by water in intercoastal commerce which will result in increases or decreases in the gross revenues of such carrier for a particular trade of three percent or more.

Prohibits the Commission from ordering hearings unless it publishes the reasons for such a hearing in the Federal Register and the specific issues to be resolved by such hearing.

Requires the Commission to prescribe guidelines for the determination of what constitutes a just and reasonable rate of return for common carriers by water.

Requires the Commission to complete such a hearing within 60 days and to issue a final decision within 180 days. Allows the Commission to extend such time period for an additional 60 days if three or more Commissioners agree to such an extension. Stipulates that if a final decision is not reached within this 180 day period or by the end of an extension period the proposed rate change or practice shall be deemed just and reasonable.

Prohibits the Commission from suspending: (1) any tariff schedule or service which extends to any additional port at the rates of the carrier involved for similar service in effect at the nearest port of call to such port; or (2) the operation of that portion of any changed rate representing an increase or decrease of seven percent or less and filed as part of a general increase or decrease in rates.

Stipulates that if the Commission finds that, with respect to a general increase in rates, any unsuspended portion of the increase is not just and reasonable, the Commission shall order the carrier involved to refund such increased costs plus interest to persons charged on the basis of the average of the prime rate charged by major banks, during the period to which the refund applies.