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Collection Guide
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A guide to the Trans-Pacific Westbound Rate Agreement records, 1920 Oct 21-1979 Jan 1
HDC0321 (SAFR 17423)  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The collection includes minutes, cargo statistics and traffic circulars of TWRA, a consortium of West Coast shipping companies. The collection was received in little apparent order, except that meeting minutes were generally grouped together by the name of the body meeting. Meeting minutes are the most important, revealing, and complete part of the collection. The Joint Agreement was divided into several "conferences" that organized and re-organized many times over the years, met in many different cities, and involved many different steamship companies. These steamship companies themselves came in and out of business, changed names, reorganized, and consolidated often as the years passed. The collection has relevance to the history of the West Coast shipping industry in general, and to the individual corporate histories of Pacific and Far East shipping companies. The collection is also relevant to the legal and political history of anti-trust law exemptions and industry specific self-regulatory bodies. The researcher wishing an overview of this collection would do well to look at contract memos, rules and regulations, legal cases, and a representative sample of minutes from each conference, especially those early and late in the conference's existence. For access to individual steamship companies within the collection, decide upon a range of dates, consult the sequential arrangement of dates for appropriate minutes, and see the beginning of those minutes for a list of the companies and their representatives.
Background
The Trans-Pacific Westbound Rate Agreement (TWRA) is a consortium of shipping lines that are exempt from anti-trust legislation and that meet to set rates for the shipment of westbound cargo across the Pacific Ocean. The group was created in 1920, and included at various time most of the major shipping lines of the Pacific Basin. In 1934 the TWRA answered a complaint brought against them before the United States Shipping Board of the Federal Maritime Commission by the City of Oakland, California and the Oakland Chamber of Commerce. In that statement, the TRWA justified their formation in 1920 by noting that "prior to the formation�unbridled competition existed between all carriers at all [terminals] on the Pacific Coast for the transportation of cargoes to the Orient." The 1934 statement noted that the TRWA was organized with the approval of the United States Shipping Board for the purposes of "preventing ruinous competition" between carriers, "affording fair opportunities to ports," and "promoting certainty in transportation conditions among merchants." It did so by stabilizing rate structures and eliminating unfair competition between and discrimination among its members. The TRWA argued that tariff and industry self-regulation measures were designed to "protect the shipping public" while simultaneously permitting "sufficient latitude in competition" between member carriers and participating terminals, in an effort to avoid "unreasonable conditions in respect to the shippers [and] unstable conditions among themselves." (See Series 5, folders 342-347 for documents relating to Oakland v. TRWA).
Extent
30 linear ft.
Restrictions
Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.
Availability
This collection is open for use unless otherwise noted.