Antitrust Lawyer Blog Commentary on Current Developments

Justice Department Will Not Oppose American Trucking Associations’ Proposal

On August 10, the DOJ announced that it would not oppose a proposal by the American Trucking Associations Inc. (ATA) to develop and publicize model agreements for motor carriers and freight transportation brokers. The DOJ said the model agreements are not likely to be anticompetitive.
The DOJ's position was stated in a business review letter from Thomas O. Barnett, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division. “Making the model agreements available to the trucking industry is not likely to reduce competition,” Barnett said in the letter. “The model agreements do not contain any provisions specifying rates to be charged or other competitively significant terms, and use of the agreements or any of their provisions will be left to the determination of each company acting independently.”

The ATA requested a business review letter from the Division expressing its enforcement intentions regarding the ATA's proposal to develop and publicize two model agreements for use between motor carriers and brokers that would contain terms commonly used in the industry. Motor carriers and transportation brokers can use the model agreements to negotiate the terms and conditions of contracts between them for the motor carriage of goods. The agreements contain clauses, among others, related to the shipment service to be rendered, liability for the cargo, and the role of indemnity if the service is not adequately performed. According to the request, the availability of such model agreements will ease the competitive disadvantage of small brokers brought about by the expense of drafting contracts with multiple carriers.

Andre P. Barlow
202-589-1838
abarlow@dbmlawgroup.com