Transportation Bites – Transportation news this week is in sync with ATLP’s Annual Meeting Agenda

ATLP’s Annual Meeting is 79 days away.  The agenda is packed full of transportation topics in sync with this week’s transportation news.  In this Highlights post we review this week’s news and preview related annual meeting sessions.

Maritime

The Senate sent its version of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act to the House of Representatives this past Monday.  The House had already passed its version of the act and now the chambers must reconcile the differences between the bills. 

Two sessions at the annual meeting will consider maritime issues.  First, Federal Maritime Commissioner Rebecca Dye will join Mario Cordero, Executive Director at the Port of Long Beach, and Karen Hedlund, Member of the Surface Transportation Board, to discuss the recent supply chain crisis and their legal powers (or lack of powers) to work towards a solution to this complex problem.   Another annual meeting session will review emerging issues in the maritime industry.

Aviation

On April 6, Congressman Eric Swalwell introduced a bill to protect airline crew members, security screening personnel, and passengers by banning abusive passengers from commercial aircraft flights. 

ATLP will hold a session addressing passenger violence against airline cabin crew.   This panel will discuss the legal ramifications of that increased violence and the legal challenges airlines must confront when attempting to reduce it. In particular, the panel will examine the applicability of OSHA requirements and regulations, airlines’ ability to ban passengers, the antitrust issues associated with the sharing of banned passenger lists among airlines, and airlines’ efforts to work with the FAA to regulate passenger conduct.

Merges and Acquisitions in the Transportation

The merger activity in the rail industry has been well covered in Highlights.  But this week, the aviation industry followed suit with a script that seems very similar to the Kansas City Southern Railway Company merger.  On April 5, JetBlue announced an unsolicited $3.6 billion offer for Spirit Airlines, besting the offer that Frontier  and Spirit had previously announced. 

ATLP will hold two sessions on the topic of mergers and acquisitions.  First, Patrick Ottensmeyer, President & CEO, Kansa City Southern Railway Company will provide a keynote speech to attendees. Following Mr. Ottensmeyer’s presentation will be a session covering M&A for transportation attorneys.  It will provide an overview of the M&A process, the legal issues at play, and the role that a transportation attorney might play in a transaction. It also will discuss M&A trends involving transportation and how investors evaluate a deal.

Motor Carriage

In motor carrier news, the Biden Administration nominated Robin Hutcheson to be the administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Administration.  As Jameson Rice noted in March, Ms. Hutcheson had been named as deputy administrator and acting administrator to replace Meera Joshi who left the agency to take the role as New York City deputy mayor for operates in the Adams administration (a role that does not require Senate confirmation). Prior to joining the FMCSA, Ms. Hutcheson was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Safety Policy for the U.S. Department of Transportation.  She also held roles as the Director of Public Works for the City of Minneapolis and as the Transportation Director for Salt Lake City, Utah.

On the final day of the Annual Meeting, recent trends at FMCSA are likely to be on the agenda as ATLP presenters discuss motor carrier issues of the day over lunch.

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