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FMB V. ISBRANDTSEN CO., INC., 356 U. S. 481 (1958)

U.S. Supreme Court

FMB v. Isbrandtsen Co., Inc., 356 U.S. 481 (1958)

Federal Maritime Board v. Isbrandtsen Co., Inc.

No. 73

Argued December 11, 1957

Decided May 19, 1958*

356 U.S. 481


The Federal Maritime Board issued an order approving a rate system proposed by a shipping conference of 17 common carriers by water serving the inbound trade from Japan, Korea, and Okinawa to ports on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States. Under the proposed system, a shipper who signed an exclusive patronage contract with the conference would pay less than the regular freight rates charged to all others. The Court of Appeals set aside the Board's order on the ground that this system of dual rates was unlawful under § 14 of the Shipping Act of 1916.

Held: the judgment is affirmed. Pp. 356 U. S. 482-500.

(a) In § 14, Congress flatly prohibits certain specific conference practices having the purpose and effect of stifling the competition of independent carriers. In addition to these specific abuses, § 14 also forbids "resort to other discriminating or unfair methods," and this, in the context of § 14, must be construed as constituting a catch-all clause by which Congress meant to prohibit other practices not specifically enumerated but similar in purpose and effect to those which were enumerated. Pp. 356 U. S. 491-493.

(b) Since the Board found that the proposed rate system was required to meet the competition of a certain independent carrier in order to obtain for Conference members a greater participation in the cargo moving in this trade, it follows that the system was a "resort to other discriminating or unfair methods" to stifle outside competition in violation of § 14. P. 356 U. S. 493.

(c) Previous decisions in United States Navigation Co. v. Cunard S.S. Co., 284 U. S. 474, and Far East Conference v. United States, 342 U. S. 570, cannot be read as having passed on the construction of § 14 Third. Pp. 356 U. S. 496-499.

99 U.S.App.D.C. 312, 239 F.2d 933, affirmed.

Page 356 U. S. 482

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