NMFTA will respond to the STB ruling that would result in the removal of the antitrust immunity granted to the NCC in developing the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC). On Monday, May 7, the STB served a decision in Ex Parte No. 656 Motor Carrier Bureaus-Periodic Review Proceeding that, if allowed to stand, would result in the elimination of the antitrust immunity for the NCC's classification-making activities, effective September 4, 2007.
Since this ruling, there has been some confusion over the future of the NCC and the NMFC.
The STB decision clearly states, "It is not our [the STB's] intention to discourage the classification process…We recognize that there are significant benefits to having a classification system."
Bill Pugh, Secretary of the NCC and Executive Director of the NMFTA insists that the STB's ruling will not end the need for an industry-wide classification standard. "Most definitely the Classification will continue. Some modification of the existing process might be necessary, but the NMFC's importance to both shippers and carriers demands that it be preserved."
The STB's decision also would not, and does not, alter the statutory requirement that carriers who use or refer to provisions of the NMFC must participate in the NMFC.
The NCC and the NMFTA will be responding to the STB's decision and, while these issues are being resolved, the NCC's antitrust immunity remains in effect. The NCC's meetings on June 4 and 5, 2007, will be held as scheduled.
NMFTA is a nonprofit membership association, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, representing 1100 less-than-truckload carriers throughout North America. For more information on NMFTA, the NMFC, and the NCC go to: www.nmfta.org.