Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. v. Regal-Beloit Corp. , 561 U.S. 89 ( 2010 )


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  • (Slip Opinion)              OCTOBER TERM, 2009                                       1
    
                                           Syllabus
    
             NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is
           being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.
           The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been
           prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.
           See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 
    200 U.S. 321
    , 337.
    
    
    SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
    
                                           Syllabus
    
        KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. ET AL. v. REGAL-
    
                   BELOIT CORP. ET AL. 
    
    
    CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR
                      THE NINTH CIRCUIT
    
        No. 08–1553. Argued March 24, 2010—Decided June 21, 2010*
    Respondents (cargo owners) delivered to petitioners in No. 08–1553
      (“K” Line) goods for shipping from China to inland United States des
      tinations. “K” Line issued them four through bills of lading, i.e., bills
      of lading covering both the ocean and inland portions of transport in
      a single document. As relevant here, the bills contain a “Himalaya
      Clause,” which extends the bills’ defenses and liability limitations to
      subcontractors; permit “K” Line to subcontract to complete the jour
      ney; provide that the entire journey is governed by the Carriage of
      Goods by Sea Act (COGSA), which regulates bills of lading issued by
      ocean carriers engaged in foreign trade; and designate a Tokyo court
      as the venue for any dispute. “K” Line arranged the journey, subcon
      tracting with petitioner in No. 08–1554 (Union Pacific) for rail ship
      ment in the United States. The cargo was shipped in “K” Line ves
      sels to California and then loaded onto a Union Pacific train. A
      derailment along the inland route allegedly destroyed the cargo. Ul
      timately, the Federal District Court granted the motion of Union Pa
      cific and “K” Line to dismiss the cargo owners’ suits against them
      based on the parties’ Tokyo forum-selection clause. The Ninth Cir
      cuit reversed, concluding that that clause was trumped by the Car
      mack Amendment governing bills of lading issued by domestic rail
      carriers, which applied to the inland portion of the shipment.
    Held: Because the Carmack Amendment does not apply to a shipment
     originating overseas under a single through bill of lading, the parties’
    
    ——————
      * Together with No. 08–1554, Union Pacific Railroad Co. v. Regal-
    Beloit Corp. et al., also on certiorari to the same Court.
    2      KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                                      Syllabus
    
        agreement to litigate these cases in Tokyo is binding. Pp. 4–21.
           (a) COGSA, which “K” Line and Union Pacific contend governs
        these cases, requires a carrier to issue to the cargo owner a bill con
        taining specified terms. It does not limit the parties’ ability to adopt
        forum-selection clauses. It only applies to shipments from United
        States ports to foreign ports and vice versa, but permits parties to ex
        tend certain of its terms “by contract” to cover “the entire period in
        which [the goods] would be under [a carrier’s] responsibility, includ
        ing [a] period of inland . . . transport.” Norfolk Southern R. Co. v.
        James N. Kirby, Pty Ltd., 
    543 U.S. 14
    , 29. The Carmack Amend
        ment, on which respondents rely, requires a domestic rail carrier that
        “receives [property] for transportation under this part” to issue a bill
        of lading. 
    49 U.S. C
    . §11706(a). “[T]his part” refers to the Surface
        Transportation Board’s (STB’s) jurisdiction over domestic rail trans
        portation. See §10501(b). Carmack assigns liability for damage on
        the rail route to “receiving rail carrier[s]” and “delivering rail car
        rier[s],” regardless of which carrier caused the damage. §11706(a).
        Its purpose is to relieve cargo owners “of the burden of searching out
        a particular negligent carrier from among the often numerous carri
        ers handling an interstate shipment of goods.” Reider v. Thompson,
        
    339 U.S. 113
    , 119. Thus, it constrains carriers’ ability to limit liabil
        ity by contract, §11706(c), and limits the parties’ choice of venue to
        federal and state courts. §11706(d)(1). Pp. 4–7.
           (b) In Kirby, as in these cases, an ocean shipping company issued a
        through bill of lading that extended COGSA’s terms to the inland
        segment, and the property was damaged during the inland rail por
        tion. This Court held that the through bill’s terms governed under
        federal maritime law, notwithstanding contrary state laws, 543 U. S.,
        at 23–27, explaining that “so long as a bill of lading requires substan
        tial carriage of goods by sea, its purpose is to effectuate maritime
        commerce,” id., at 27, and adding that “[a]pplying state law . . . would
        undermine the uniformity of general maritime law,” id., at 28, and
        defeat COGSA’s apparent purpose “to facilitate efficient contracting
        in contracts for carriage by sea,” ibid. Here, as in Kirby, “K” Line is
        sued through bills under COGSA, in maritime commerce, and ex
        tended its terms to the journey’s inland domestic segment. Pp. 7–8.
           (c) The Carmack Amendment’s text, history, and purposes make
        clear that it does not require a different result. Pp. 8–21.
              (1) Carmack divides the realm of rail carriers into receiving, de
        livering, and connecting rail carriers. Its first sentence requires a
        compliant bill of lading (1) if a rail carrier provid[es] transportation
        or service subject to the [STB’s] jurisdiction” and (2) if that carrier
        “receives” the property “for transportation . . . .” 11706(a). It thus
        requires the receiving rail carrier—but not the delivering or connect
                       Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)                      3
    
                                  Syllabus
    
    ing rail carrier—to issue a bill of lading. This conclusion is consistent
    with statute’s text and this Court’s precedent. See St. Louis, I. M. &
    S. R. Co. v. Starbird, 
    243 U.S. 592
    , 595, 604. A receiving rail carrier
    is the initial carrier, which “receives” the property for domestic rail
    transportation at the journey’s point of origin. If the Carmack’s bill
    of lading requirement referred not to the initial carrier, but to any
    carrier “receiving” the property from another carrier, then every car
    rier during the shipment would have to issue its own separate bill.
    This would be contrary to Carmack’s purpose of making the receiving
    and delivering carriers liable under a single, initial bill for damage
    caused by any carrier within a single course of shipment. This con
    clusion is consistent with Mexican Light & Power Co. v. Texas Mexi
    can R. Co., 
    331 U.S. 731
    , where the Court held that a bill of lading
    issued by a subsequent rail carrier when the “initial carrier” has is
    sued a through bill is “void” unless it “represents the initiation of a
    new shipment,” id., at 733–734. And Reider, supra, is not to the con
    trary. There, absent a through bill of lading, the original journey
    from Argentina terminated at the port of New Orleans, and the first
    rail carrier in the United States was the receiving rail carrier for
    Carmack purposes. Id., at 117. Carmack’s second sentence estab
    lishes that it applies only to transport of property for which a receiv
    ing carrier is required to issue a bill of lading, regardless of whether
    that carrier actually issues such a bill. See §11706(a). Thus, Car
    mack applies only if the journey begins with a receiving rail carrier
    that had to issue a compliant bill of lading, not if the property is re
    ceived at an overseas location under a through bill that covers trans
    port into an inland location in this country. The initial carrier in that
    instance receives the property at the shipment’s point of origin for
    overseas multimodal import transport, not domestic rail transport.
    Carmack did not require “K” Line to issue bills of lading because “K”
    Line was not a receiving rail carrier. That it chose to use rail trans
    port to complete one segment of the journey under its “essentially
    maritime” contracts, Kirby, supra, at 24, does not put it within Car
    mack’s reach. Union Pacific, which the cargo owners concede was a
    mere delivering carrier that did not have to issue its own Carmack
    bill of lading, was also not a receiving rail carrier under Carmack.
    Because the Ninth Circuit ignored Carmack’s “receive[d] . . . for
    transportation” limitation, it reached the wrong conclusion. Its con
    clusion is also an awkward fit with Carmack’s venue provisions,
    which presume that the receiving carrier obtains the property in a
    judicial district within the United States. If “K” Line were a receiv
    ing carrier in a case with a “point of origin” in China, there would be
    no place under Carmack to sue “K” Line, since China is not within a
    judicial district “of the United States or in a State Court.”
    4      KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                                      Syllabus
    
        §11706(d)(1). Pp. 8–15.
             (2) Carmack’s statutory history supports this conclusion. None of
        its legislative versions—the original 1906 statute or the amended
        1915, 1978, or 1995 ones—have applied to the inland domestic rail
        segment of an import shipment from overseas under a through bill.
        Pp. 15–17.
             (3) This interpretation also attains the most consistency between
        Carmack and COGSA. Applying Carmack to the inland segment of
        an international carriage originating overseas under a through bill
        would undermine Carmack’s purposes, which are premised on the
        view that a shipment has a single bill of lading and any damage is
        the responsibility of both receiving and delivering carriers. Under
        the Ninth Circuit’s interpretation, there might be no venue in which
        to sue the receiving carrier. That interpretation would also under
        mine COGSA and international, container-based multimodal trans
        port: COGSA’s liability and venue rules would apply when cargo is
        damaged at sea and Carmack’s rules almost always would apply
        when the damage occurs on land. Moreover, applying Carmack to in
        ternational import shipping transport would undermine COGSA’s
        purpose “to facilitate efficient contracting in contracts for carriage by
        sea.” Kirby, supra, at 29. The cargo owners’ contrary policy argu
        ments are unavailing. Pp. 17–20.
    
    557 F.3d 985
    , reversed and remanded.
    
       KENNEDY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS,
    C. J., and SCALIA, THOMAS, BREYER, and ALITO, JJ., joined. SOTOMAYOR,
    J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which STEVENS and GINSBURG, JJ.,
    joined.
                           Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)                              1
    
                                Opinion of the Court
    
        NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the
        preliminary print of the United States Reports. Readers are requested to
        notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of the United States, Wash
        ington, D. C. 20543, of any typographical or other formal errors, in order
        that corrections may be made before the preliminary print goes to press.
    
    
    SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
                                      _________________
    
                            Nos. 08–1553 and 08–1554
                                      _________________
    
    
          KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD., ET AL.,
                     PETITIONERS
    08–1553               v.
            REGAL-BELOIT CORPORATION ET AL.
    
    UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY, PETITIONER
    08–1554               v.
            REGAL-BELOIT CORPORATION ET AL.
    ON WRITS OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF
                APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
                                    [June 21, 2010]
    
       JUSTICE KENNEDY delivered the opinion of the Court.
       These cases concern through bills of lading covering
    cargo for the entire course of shipment, beginning in a
    foreign, overseas country and continuing to a final, inland
    destination in the United States. The voyage here in
    cluded ocean transit followed by transfer to a rail carrier
    in this country. The Court addressed similar factual
    circumstances in Norfolk Southern R. Co. v. James N.
    Kirby, Pty Ltd., 
    543 U.S. 14
     (2004). In that case the
    terms of a through bill were controlled by federal maritime
    law and by a federal statute known as the Carriage of
    Goods by Sea Act (COGSA), note following 
    46 U.S. C
    .
    §30701. Kirby held that bill of lading provisions permissi
    ble under COGSA can be invoked by a domestic rail car
    rier, despite contrary state law.
    2   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
      The instant cases present a question neither raised nor
    addressed in Kirby. It is whether the terms of a through
    bill of lading issued abroad by an ocean carrier can apply
    to the domestic part of the import’s journey by a rail car
    rier, despite prohibitions or limitations in another federal
    statute. That statute is known as the Carmack Amend
    ment and it governs the terms of bills of lading issued by
    domestic rail carriers. 
    49 U.S. C
    . §11706(a).
                                  I
       Respondents Regal-Beloit Corporation, Victory Fire
    works, Inc., PICC Property & Casualty Company Ltd., and
    Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company Ltd. are cargo
    owners or insurance firms that paid losses to cargo owners
    and succeeded to their rights, all referred to as “cargo
    owners.” To ship their goods from China to inland desti
    nations in the Midwestern United States, the cargo own
    ers delivered the goods in China to petitioners in No. 08–
    1553, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd., and its agent “K” Line
    America, Inc., both referred to as “K” Line. All agree the
    relevant contract terms governing the shipment are con
    tained in four through bills of lading “K” Line issued to the
    cargo owners. The bills of lading covered the entire course
    of shipment.
       The bills required “K” Line to arrange delivery of the
    goods from China to their final destinations in the United
    States, by any mode of transportation of “K” Line’s choos
    ing. A bill of lading “records that a carrier has received
    goods from the party that wishes to ship them, states the
    terms of carriage, and serves as evidence of the contract
    for carriage.” Kirby, 543 U. S., at 18–19. A through bill
    of lading covers both the ocean and inland portions of the
    transport in a single document. Id., at 25–26.
       “K” Line’s through bills contain five relevant provisions.
    First, they include a so-called “Himalaya Clause,” which
    extends the bills’ defenses and limitations on liability to
                     Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)           3
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
    parties that sign subcontracts to perform services contem
    plated by the bills. See id., at 20, and n. 2. Second, the
    bills permit “K” Line “to sub-contract on any terms what
    soever” for the completion of the journey. App. 145.
    Third, the bills provide that COGSA’s terms govern the
    entire journey. Fourth, the bills require that any dispute
    will be governed by Japanese law. Fifth, the bills state
    that any action relating to the carriage must be brought in
    “Tokyo District Court in Japan.” Id., at 144. The forum
    selection provision in the last clause gives rise to the
    dispute here.
      “K” Line, pursuant to the bills of lading, arranged for
    the entire journey. It subcontracted with petitioner in No.
    08–1554, Union Pacific Railroad Company, for rail ship
    ment in the United States. The goods were to be shipped
    in a “K” Line vessel to a port in Long Beach, California,
    and then transferred to Union Pacific for rail carriage to
    the final destinations.
      In March and April 2005, the cargo owners brought four
    different container shipments to “K” Line vessels in Chi
    nese ports. All parties seem to assume that “K” Line
    safely transported the cargo across the Pacific Ocean to
    California. The containers were then loaded onto a Union
    Pacific train and that train, or some other train operated
    by Union Pacific, derailed in Tyrone, Oklahoma, allegedly
    destroying the cargo.
      The cargo owners filed four separate lawsuits in the
    Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles. The
    suit named “K” Line and Union Pacific as defendants.
    Union Pacific removed the suits to the United States
    District Court for the Central District of California. Union
    Pacific and “K” Line then moved to dismiss based on the
    parties’ Tokyo forum-selection clause. The District Court
    granted the motion to dismiss. It decided that the forum
    selection clause was reasonable and applied to Union
    Pacific pursuant to the Himalaya Clause in “K” Line’s bills
    4   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                          Opinion of the Court
    
    of lading. 
    462 F. Supp. 2d 1098
    , 1102–1103 (2006).
       The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Cir
    cuit reversed and remanded. 
    557 F.3d 985
     (2009). The
    court concluded that the Carmack Amendment applied to
    the inland portion of an international shipment under a
    through bill of lading and thus trumped the parties’ fo
    rum-selection clause. Id., at 994–995. The court noted
    that this view was consistent with the position taken by
    the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, see id., at 994
    (citing Sompo Japan Ins. Co. of Am. v. Union Pacific R.
    Co., 
    456 F.3d 54
     (2006)), but inconsistent with the views
    of the Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Sixth, Seventh,
    and Eleventh Circuits, see 
    557 F. 3d
    , at 994 (citing Shao v.
    Link Cargo (Taiwan) Ltd., 
    986 F.2d 700
     (CA4 1993);
    American Road Serv. Co. v. Consolidated Rail Corp., 
    348 F.3d 565
     (CA6 2003); Capitol Converting Equip., Inc. v.
    LEP Transp., Inc., 
    965 F.2d 391
     (CA7 1992); Altadis USA,
    Inc. ex rel. Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co. v. Sea Star Line, LLC,
    
    458 F.3d 1288
     (CA11 2006)). This Court granted certio
    rari to address whether Carmack applies to the inland
    segment of an overseas import shipment under a through
    bill of lading. 558 U. S. ___ (2009).
                                  II 
    
                                  A
    
      Before turning to Carmack, a brief description of
    COGSA is in order; for “K” Line’s and Union Pacific’s
    primary contention is that COGSA, not Carmack, controls.
    COGSA governs the terms of bills of lading issued by
    ocean carriers engaged in foreign trade. 49 Stat. 1207, as
    amended, note following 
    46 U.S. C
    . §30701, p. 1178. It
    requires each carrier to issue to the cargo owner a bill that
    contains certain terms. §3(3)–(8), at 1178–1179. Although
    COGSA imposes some limitations on the parties’ authority
    to adjust liability, it does not limit the parties’ ability to
    adopt forum-selection clauses. See Vimar Seguros y
                      Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)              5
    
                          Opinion of the Court
    
    Reaseguros, S. A. v. M/V Sky Reefer, 
    515 U.S. 528
    , 537–
    539 (1995). By its terms, COGSA only applies to ship
    ments from United States ports to ports of foreign coun
    tries and vice versa. §§1(e), 13, at 1178, 1180. The stat
    ute, however, allows parties “the option of extending
    [certain COGSA terms] by contract” to cover “the entire
    period in which [the goods] would be under [a carrier’s]
    responsibility, including [a] period of . . . inland transport.”
    Kirby, 543 U. S., at 29 (citing COGSA §7, at 1180). Ocean
    carriers, who often must issue COGSA bills of lading, are
    regulated by the Federal Maritime Commission (Maritime
    Commission), which is responsible for oversight over
    “common carriage of goods by water in . . . foreign com
    merce.” 
    46 U.S. C
    . §40101(1).
                                  B
      The next statute to consider is the Carmack Amend
    ment, §7, 34 Stat. 595, which governs the terms of bills of
    lading issued by domestic rail carriers. Carmack was first
    enacted in 1906 as an amendment to the Interstate Com
    merce Act, 24 Stat. 379. The Carmack Amendment has
    been altered and recodified over the last century. It now
    provides, in relevant part, as follows:
        “(a) A rail carrier providing transportation or service
        subject to the jurisdiction of the [Surface Transporta
        tion Board (STB)] under this part shall issue a receipt
        or bill of lading for property it receives for transporta
        tion under this part. That rail carrier and any other
        carrier that delivers the property and is providing
        transportation or service subject to the jurisdiction of
        the [STB] under this part are liable to the person enti
        tled to recover under the receipt or bill of lading. The
        liability imposed under this subsection is for the ac
        tual loss or injury to the property caused by—
           “(1) the receiving rail carrier;
    6   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
          “(2) the delivering rail carrier; or
          “(3) another rail carrier over whose line or route
          the property is transported in the United States or
          from a place in the United States to a place in an
          adjacent foreign country when transported under a
          through bill of lading.
        “Failure to issue a receipt or bill of lading does not af
        fect the liability of a rail carrier.” 
    49 U.S. C
    . §11706;
        see also §14706(a) (motor carriers).
       The Carmack Amendment thus requires a rail carrier
    that “receives [property] for transportation under this
    part” to issue a bill of lading. §11706(a). The provision
    “this part” refers to is the STB’s jurisdiction over rail
    transportation within the United States. See §10501
    (2006 ed. and Supp. II). The STB is the successor to the
    Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). The STB has
    “exclusive” jurisdiction to regulate “transportation by rail
    carriers” between places in the United States as well as
    between a place “in the United States and a place in a
    foreign country.” §10501(a)(2)(F), (b) (2006 ed.). Regu
    lated rail carriers must provide transportation subject to
    STB rail carrier jurisdiction “on reasonable request,”
    §11101(a), at reasonable rates,         §§10702, 10707(b),
    11101(a), (e).
       In cases where it applies, Carmack imposes upon “re
    ceiving rail carrier[s]” and “delivering rail carrier[s]”
    liability for damage caused during the rail route under the
    bill of lading, regardless of which carrier caused the dam
    age. §11706(a). Carmack’s purpose is to relieve cargo
    owners “of the burden of searching out a particular negli
    gent carrier from among the often numerous carriers
    handling an interstate shipment of goods.” Reider v.
    Thompson, 
    339 U.S. 113
    , 119 (1950). To help achieve this
    goal, Carmack constrains carriers’ ability to limit liability
    by contract. §11706(c).
                     Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)            7
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
      Carmack also limits the parties’ ability to choose the
    venue of their suit:
        “(d)(1) A civil action under this section may be
        brought in a district court of the United States or in a
        State court.
        “(2)(A) A civil action under this section may only be
        brought—
          “(i) against the originating rail carrier, in the judi
          cial district in which the point of origin is located;
          “(ii) against the delivering rail carrier, in the judi
          cial district in which the principal place of business
          of the person bringing the action is located if the de
          livering carrier operates a railroad or a route
          through such judicial district, or in the judicial dis
          trict in which the point of destination is located; and
          “(iii) against the carrier alleged to have caused the
          loss or damage, in the judicial district in which such
          loss or damage is alleged to have occurred.” §11706.
    For purposes of these cases, it can be assumed that if
    Carmack’s terms apply to the bills of lading here, the
    cargo owners would have a substantial argument that the
    Tokyo forum-selection clause in the bills is pre-empted by
    Carmack’s venue provisions. The parties argue about
    whether they may contract out of Carmack’s venue provi
    sions and other requirements, see §§10502, 10709; but in
    light of the disposition and ruling to follow, those matters
    need not be discussed or further explored.
                                 III
      In Kirby, an ocean shipping company issued a through
    bill of lading, agreeing to deliver cargo from Australia to
    Alabama. Like the through bills in the present cases, the
    Kirby bill extended COGSA’s terms to the inland segment
    under a Himalaya Clause. There, as here, the property
    8   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
    was damaged by a domestic rail carrier during the inland
    rail portion. 543 U. S., at 19–20.
      Kirby held that the through bill’s terms governed under
    federal maritime law, notwithstanding contrary state
    laws. Id., at 23–27. Kirby explained that “so long as a bill
    of lading requires substantial carriage of goods by sea, its
    purpose is to effectuate maritime commerce.” Id., at 27.
    The Court added that “[a]pplying state law to cases like
    this one would undermine the uniformity of general mari
    time law.” Id., at 28. “Confusion and inefficiency will
    inevitably result if more than one body of law governs a
    given contract’s meaning.” Id., at 29. The Court noted
    that its conclusion “reinforce[d] the liability regime Con
    gress established in COGSA,” and explained that COGSA
    allows parties to extend its terms to an inland portion of a
    journey under a through bill of lading. Ibid. Finally, the
    Court concluded that a contrary holding would defeat “the
    apparent purpose of COGSA, to facilitate efficient con
    tracting in contracts for carriage by sea.” Ibid.
      Much of what the Court said in Kirby applies to the
    present cases. “K” Line issued the through bills under
    COGSA, in maritime commerce. Congress considered
    such international through bills and decided to permit
    parties to extend COGSA’s terms to the inland domestic
    segment of the journey. The cargo owners and “K” Line
    did exactly that in these cases, agreeing in the through
    bills to require that any suit be brought in Tokyo.
                                IV
      The cargo owners argue that the Carmack Amendment,
    which has its own venue provisions and was not discussed
    in Kirby, requires a different result. In particular they
    argue that Carmack applies to the domestic inland seg
    ment of the carriage here, so the Tokyo forum-selection
    clause is inapplicable. For the reasons set forth below,
    this contention must be rejected. Instructed by the text,
                      Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)             9
    
                          Opinion of the Court
    
    history, and purposes of Carmack, the Court now holds
    that the amendment does not apply to a shipment origi
    nating overseas under a single through bill of lading. As
    in Kirby, the terms of the bill govern the parties’ rights.
                                   A
       The text of the statute charts the analytic course. Car
    mack divides the realm of rail carriers into three parts:
    (1) receiving rail carriers; (2) delivering rail carriers; and
    (3) connecting rail carriers. A “receiving rail carrier” is
    one that “provid[es] transportation or service . . . for prop
    erty it receives for transportation under this part.”
    §11706(a); see §11706(a)(1). The provision “this part”
    refers to is the STB’s jurisdiction over rail transportation
    within the United States. See §10501. A “delivering rail
    carrier” “delivers the property and is providing transporta
    tion or service subject to the jurisdiction of the [STB]
    under this part.” §11706(a); see §11706(a)(2). A connect
    ing rail carrier is “another rail carrier over whose line or
    route the property is transported in the United States or
    from a place in the United States to a place in an adjacent
    foreign country when transported under a through bill of
    lading.” §11706(a)(3).
       A rail carrier’s obligation to issue a Carmack-compliant
    bill of lading is determined by Carmack’s first sentence:
        “A rail carrier providing transportation or service sub
        ject to the jurisdiction of the [STB] under this part
        shall issue a receipt or bill of lading for property it re
        ceives for transportation under this part.” §11706(a).
    This critical first sentence requires a Carmack-compliant
    bill of lading if two conditions are satisfied. First, the rail
    carrier must “provid[e] transportation or service subject to
    the jurisdiction of the [STB].” Second, that carrier must
    “receiv[e]” the property “for transportation under this
    part,” where “this part” is the STB’s jurisdiction over
    10   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
    domestic rail transport. Carmack thus requires the re
    ceiving rail carrier—but not the delivering or connecting
    rail carrier—to issue a bill of lading. As explained below,
    ascertaining the shipment’s point of origin is critical to
    deciding whether the shipment includes a receiving rail
    carrier.
       The conclusion that Carmack’s bill of lading require
    ment only applies to the receiving rail carrier is dictated
    by the text and is consistent with this Court’s precedent.
    See St. Louis, I. M. & S. R. Co. v. Starbird, 
    243 U.S. 592
    ,
    604 (1917) (explaining that Carmack “requires the receiv
    ing carrier to issue a through bill of lading”). A receiving
    rail carrier is the initial carrier, which “receives” the
    property for domestic rail transportation at the journey’s
    point of origin. §11706(a). If Carmack’s bill of lading
    requirement did not refer to the initial carrier, but rather
    to any rail carrier that in the colloquial sense “received”
    the property from another carrier, then every carrier
    during the shipment would have to issue its own separate
    bill. This would be altogether contrary to Carmack’s
    purpose of making the receiving and delivering carriers
    liable under a single, initial bill of lading for damage
    caused by any carrier within a single course of shipment.
       This Court’s decision in Mexican Light & Power Co. v.
    Texas Mexican R. Co., 
    331 U.S. 731
     (1947), supports the
    conclusion that only the receiving rail carrier must issue a
    Carmack bill of lading. There, a subsequent rail carrier in
    an export shipment from the United States to Mexico
    issued its own separate bill of lading at the U. S.-Mexico
    border. The second bill differed from the through bill
    issued by the “initial carrier,” id., at 733, (that is, the
    receiving carrier) at the inland point of origin. The Court
    held that Carmack, far from requiring nonreceiving carri
    ers to issue their separate bills of lading, makes any sub
    sequent bill “void” unless the “so-called second bill of
    lading represents the initiation of a new shipment.” Id., at
                      Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)           11
    
                          Opinion of the Court
    
    734.
      The Court’s decision in Reider v. Thompson, 
    339 U.S. 113
    , is not to the contrary. That case involved goods
    originating in Argentina, bound for an inland location in
    the United States. The Court in Reider determined that
    because there was no through bill of lading, the original
    journey from Argentina terminated at the port of New
    Orleans. Thus, the first rail carrier in the United States
    was the receiving rail carrier and had to issue a Carmack
    bill of lading. Id., at 117. And because that carrier had to
    issue a separate bill of lading, it was not liable for damage
    done during the ocean-based portion of the shipment. Id.,
    at 118–119. Notably, neither Mexican Light nor Reider
    addressed the situation in the present cases, where the
    shipment originates overseas under a through bill of lad
    ing. And, for this reason, neither case discussed COGSA.
      The Carmack Amendment’s second sentence establishes
    when Carmack liability applies:
        “[The receiving rail carrier referred to in the first sen
        tence] and any other carrier that delivers the property
        and is providing transportation or service subject to
        the jurisdiction of the [STB] under this part are liable
        to the person entitled to recover under the receipt or
        bill of lading.” §11706(a)
    Thus, the receiving and delivering rail carriers are subject
    to liability only when damage is done to this “property,”
    that is to say, to property for which Carmack’s first sen
    tence requires the receiving rail carrier to issue a bill of
    lading. Ibid. Put another way, Carmack applies only to
    transport of property for which Carmack requires a receiv
    ing carrier to issue a bill of lading, regardless of whether
    that carrier erroneously fails to issue such a bill. See ibid.
    (“Failure to issue a receipt or bill of lading does not affect
    the liability of a rail carrier”). The language in some of the
    Courts of Appeals’ decisions, which were rejected by the
    12   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
    Court of Appeals in the opinion now under review, could
    be read to imply that Carmack applies only if a rail carrier
    actually issued a separate domestic bill of lading. See,
    e.g., Atladis, 
    458 F. 3d
    , at 1291–1294; American Road, 
    348 F. 3d
    , at 568; Shao, 
    986 F. 2d
    , at 703; Capitol Converting,
    
    965 F. 2d
    , at 394. This may have led to some confusion.
    The decisive question is not whether the rail carrier in fact
    issued a Carmack bill but rather whether that carrier was
    required to issue a bill by Carmack’s first sentence.
       The above principles establish that for Carmack’s provi
    sions to apply the journey must begin with a receiving rail
    carrier, which would have to issue a Carmack-compliant
    bill of lading. It follows that Carmack does not apply if
    the property is received at an overseas location under a
    through bill that covers the transport into an inland loca
    tion in the United States. In such a case, there is no
    receiving rail carrier that “receives” the property “for
    [domestic rail] transportation,” §11706(a), and thus no
    carrier that must issue a Carmack-compliant bill of lading.
    The initial carrier in that instance receives the property at
    the shipment’s point of origin for overseas multimodal
    import transport, not for domestic rail transport. (Today’s
    decision need not address the instance where goods are
    received at a point in the United States for export. Nor is
    it necessary to decide if Carmack applies to goods initially
    received in Canada or Mexico, for import into the United
    States. See infra, at 16.)
       The present cases illustrate the operation of these prin
    ciples. Carmack did not require “K” Line to issue bills of
    lading because “K” Line was not a receiving rail carrier.
    “K” Line obtained the cargo in China for overseas trans
    port across an ocean and then to inland destinations in the
    United States. “K” Line shipped this property under
    COGSA-authorized through bills of lading. See supra, at
    4–5. That “K” Line chose to use rail transport to complete
    one segment of the journey under these “essentially mari
                     Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)           13
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
    time” contracts, Kirby, 543 U. S., at 24, does not put “K”
    Line within Carmack’s reach and thus does not require it
    to issue Carmack bills of lading.
       As for Union Pacific, it was also not a receiving rail
    carrier under Carmack. The cargo owners conceded at
    oral argument that, even under their theory, Union Pacific
    was a mere delivering carrier, which did not have to issue
    its own Carmack bill of lading. See Tr. of Oral Arg. 29, 39.
    This was a necessary concession. A carrier does not be
    come a receiving carrier simply by accepting goods for
    further transport from another carrier in the middle of an
    international shipment under a through bill. After all,
    Union Pacific was not the “initial carrier” for the carriage.
    Mexican Light, 331 U. S., at 733.
       If a carrier like Union Pacific, which acts as a connect
    ing or delivering carrier during an international through
    shipment, was, counterintuitively, a receiving carrier
    under Carmack, this would in effect outlaw through ship
    ments under a single bill of lading. This is because a
    carriage like the one in the present case would require two
    bills of lading: one that the overseas carrier (here, “K”
    Line) issues to the cargo owners under COGSA, and a
    second one that the first domestic rail carrier (here, Union
    Pacific) issues to the overseas carrier under Carmack.
    Kirby noted “the popularity of ‘through’ bills of lading, in
    which cargo owners can contract for transportation across
    oceans and to inland destinations in a single transaction.”
    543 U. S., at 25–26. The Court sees no reason to read
    COGSA and Carmack to outlaw this efficient mode of
    international shipping by requiring these journeys to have
    multiple bills of lading. In addition, if Union Pacific had
    to issue a Carmack bill of lading to “K” Line, it is unclear
    whether the cargo owners (the parties Carmack is de
    signed to protect) would be able to sue under the terms
    governing that bill, especially in light of their different
    through bill with “K” Line. These difficulties are reason
    14   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                          Opinion of the Court
    
    enough to reject this novel interpretation of Carmack,
    which was neither urged by any party nor adopted by any
    authority that has been called to this Court’s attention.
       This would be a quite different case if, as in Reider, the
    bills of lading for the overseas transport ended at this
    country’s ports and the cargo owners then contracted with
    Union Pacific to complete a new journey to an inland
    destination in the United States. Under those circum
    stances, Union Pacific would have been the receiving rail
    carrier and would have been required to issue a separate
    Carmack-compliant bill of lading to the cargo owners. See
    Reider, 339 U. S., at 117 (“If the various parties dealing
    with this shipment separated the carriage into distinct
    portions by their contracts, it is not for courts judicially to
    meld the portions into something they are not”).
       The Court of Appeals interpreted Carmack as applying
    to any domestic rail segment of an overseas shipment,
    regardless of whether Carmack required a bill of lading.
    The court rested on the assumption that “[STB]’s jurisdic
    tion . . . is coextensive with Carmack’s coverage.” 
    557 F. 3d
    , at 992. Yet, as explained above, Carmack applies
    only to shipments for which Carmack requires a bill of
    lading; that is to say, to shipments that start with a car
    rier that is both subject to the STB’s jurisdiction and
    “receives [the property] for [domestic rail] transportation.”
    The Court of Appeals ignored this “receive[d] . . . for trans
    portation” limitation and so reached the wrong conclusion.
    See, e.g., Reiter v. Sonotone Corp., 
    442 U.S. 330
    , 339
    (1979) (courts are “obliged to give effect, if possible, to
    every word Congress used”).
       The Court of Appeals’ conclusion is also an awkward fit
    with Carmack’s venue provisions. Under Carmack, a suit
    against the “originating” (that is, receiving) rail carrier
    that has not actually caused the damage to the goods “may
    only be brought . . . in the judicial district in which the
    point of origin is located.” §11706(d)(2)(A), (A)(i). Suit
                      Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)           15
    
                          Opinion of the Court
    
    against either a delivering carrier or any carrier that
    caused the damage, by contrast, may be brought in vari
    ous other districts. See §11706(d)(2)(B), (C). “[J]udicial
    district” refers to “district court of the United States or in
    a State Court.” §11706(d)(1). Carmack’s venue provisions
    presume that the receiving carrier obtains the property in
    a judicial district within the United States. Here, the
    journey’s “point of origin” was China, so Carmack’s venue
    provisions reinforce the interpretation that Carmack does
    not apply to this carriage.
      Indeed, if “K” Line were a receiving carrier in a case
    where the journey’s “point of origin” was China, there
    would be no place under Carmack to sue “K” Line, since
    China is not within a judicial district “of the United States
    or in a State court.” Ibid. Carmack’s original premise is
    that the receiving carrier is liable for damage caused by
    the other carriers in the delivery chain. This premise
    would be defeated if there were no venue in which to sue
    the receiving rail carrier, as opposed to suing a different
    carrier under one of Carmack’s other venue provisions and
    then naming the receiving carrier as a codefendant. The
    far more likely conclusion is that “K” Line is not a receiv
    ing rail carrier at all under Carmack, and thus Carmack,
    including its venue provisions, does not apply to property
    shipped under “K” Line’s through bills. True, if the sole
    question were one of venue, suit could still be brought
    against the carrier that caused the damage or the deliver
    ing carrier. But the issue need not be explored here, for,
    as the Court holds, Carmack is inapplicable in these cases.
                                 B
      Carmack’s statutory history supports the conclusion
    that it does not apply to a shipment originating overseas
    under a through bill. None of Carmack’s legislative ver
    sions have applied to the inland domestic rail segment of
    an import shipment from overseas under a through bill.
    16   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                          Opinion of the Court
    
       Congress enacted Carmack in 1906, as an amendment
    to the Interstate Commerce Act. At that time, the amend
    ment’s provisions applied only to “property for transporta
    tion from a point in one State to a point in another State.”
    §7, 34 Stat. 595. Congress amended Carmack in 1915, §1,
    38 Stat. 1197, and the relevant language remained un
    changed until Carmack was recodified in 1978. Under the
    pre-1978 language, Carmack’s bill of lading provisions
    applied not only to wholly domestic rail transport but also
    to cargo “receive[d] . . . for transportation” “from any point
    in the United States to a point in an adjacent foreign
    country.” 
    49 U.S. C
    . §20(11) (1976 ed.).
       Even if there could be some argument that the Carmack
    Amendment before 1978 applied to imports from Canada
    and Mexico because the phrase “from . . . to” could also
    mean “between,” cf. Reider, supra, at 118 (explicitly not
    deciding this issue), the Court is unaware of any authority
    holding that the Carmack Amendment before 1978 applied
    to cargo originating from nonadjacent overseas countries
    under a through bill. See, e.g., In re The Cummins
    Amendment, 33 I. C. C. 682, 693 (1915); Brief for Respon
    dents 8 (effectively conceding this point).
       In 1978, Congress adopted the Carmack Amendment in
    largely its current form. §1, 92 Stat. 1337. Congress in
    the statute itself stated that it was recodifying Carmack
    and instructed that this recodification “may not be con
    strued as making a substantive change in the la[w].”
    §3(a), id., at 1466; see Burlington Northern R. Co. v. Okla
    homa Tax Comm’n, 
    481 U.S. 454
    , 457, n. 1 (1987). By
    interpreting the current version of the Carmack Amend
    ment to cover cargo originating overseas, the Court of
    Appeals disregarded this direction and dramatically ex
    panded Carmack’s scope beyond its historical coverage.
       Finally, in 1995, Congress reenacted Carmack. But that
    reenactment evidenced no intent to affect the substantive
    change that Court of Appeals’ decision would entail. See
                      Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)           17
    
                          Opinion of the Court
    
    §102(a), 109 Stat. 847–849. There is no claim that the
    1995 statute altered Carmack’s text in any manner rele
    vant here, as that reenactment merely indented subsec
    tions of Carmack for readability. Cf. United States v.
    O’Brien, 
    560 U.S.
    ___, ___ (2010) (slip op., at 14)
    (“[C]urrent legislative drafting guidelines . . . advise draft
    ers to break lengthy statutory provisions into separate
    subsections that can be read more easily”).
                                  C
       Where the text permits, congressional enactments
    should be construed to be consistent with one another.
    And the interpretation of Carmack the Court now adopts
    attains the most consistency between Carmack and
    COGSA. First, applying Carmack to the inland segment
    of an international carriage originating overseas under a
    through bill would undermine Carmack’s purposes. Car
    mack is premised on the view that the shipment has a
    single bill of lading and any damage during the journey is
    the responsibility of both the receiving and the delivering
    carrier. See supra, at 6. Yet, under the Court of Appeals’
    interpretation of Carmack, there would often be no venue
    in which to sue the receiving carrier. See supra, at 14–15.
       Applying two different bill of lading regimes to the same
    through shipment would undermine COGSA and interna
    tional, container-based multimodal transport. As Kirby
    explained, “[t]he international transportation industry
    ‘clearly has moved into a new era—the age of multimo
    dalism, door-to-door transport based on efficient use of all
    available modes of transportation by air, water, and
    land.’ ” 543 U. S., at 25 (quoting 1 T. Schoenbaum, Admi
    ralty and Maritime Law 589 (4th ed. 2004)). If Carmack
    applied to an inland segment of a shipment from overseas
    under a through bill, then one set of liability and venue
    rules would apply when cargo is damaged at sea (COGSA)
    and another almost always would apply when the damage
    18   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
    occurs on land (Carmack). Rather than making claims by
    cargo owners easier to resolve, a court would have to
    decide where the damage occurred to determine which law
    applied. As a practical matter, this requirement often
    could not be met; for damage to the content of containers
    can occur when the contents are damaged by rough han
    dling, seepage, or theft, at some unknown point. See H.
    Kindred & M. Brooks, Multimodal Transport Rules 143
    (1997). Indeed, adopting the Court of Appeals’ approach
    would seem to require rail carriers to open containers at
    the port to check if damage has been done during the sea
    voyage. This disruption would undermine international
    container-based transport. The Court will not read Con
    gress’ nonsubstantive recodification of Carmack in 1978 to
    create such a drastic sea change in practice in this area.
       Applying Carmack’s provisions to international import
    shipping transport would also undermine the “purpose of
    COGSA, to facilitate efficient contracting in contracts for
    carriage by sea.” Kirby, supra, at 29. These cases provide
    an apt illustration. The sophisticated cargo owners here
    agreed to maritime bills of lading that applied to the
    inland segment through the Himalaya Clause and author
    ized “K” Line to subcontract for that inland segment “on
    any terms whatsoever.” The cargo owners thus made the
    decision to select “K” Line as a single company for their
    through transportation needs, rather than contracting for
    rail services themselves. The through bills provided the
    liability and venue rules for the foreseeable event that the
    cargo was damaged during carriage. Indeed, the cargo
    owners obtained separate insurance to protect against any
    excess loss. The forum-selection clause the parties agreed
    upon is “an indispensable element in international trade,
    commerce, and contracting” because it allows parties to
    “agre[e] in advance on a forum acceptable” to them. The
    Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shore Co., 
    407 U.S. 1
    , 13–14 (1972).
    A clause of this kind is enforced unless it imposes a venue
                     Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)          19
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
    “so gravely difficult and inconvenient that [the plaintiff]
    will for all practical purposes be deprived of his day in
    court.” Id., at 18. The parties sensibly agreed that be
    cause their bills were governed by Japanese law, Tokyo
    would be the best venue for any suit relating to the cargo.
       The cargo owners’ contrary policy arguments are un
    availing. They assert that if Carmack does not apply, the
    inland segment of international shipments will be “un
    regulated.” Brief for Respondents 2, 21, 24, 64, 91. First,
    any speculation that not applying Carmack to inland
    segments of overseas shipments will cause severe prob
    lems is refuted by that fact that Carmack even arguably
    did not govern the inland portion of such shipments from
    its enactment in 1906 until its nonsubstantive recodifica
    tion in 1978. See supra, at 15–17. It is true that if the
    cargo owners’ position were to prevail, the terms of
    through bills of lading made in maritime commerce would
    be more restricted in some circumstances. But that does
    not mean that the Court’s holding leaves the field unregu
    lated. Ocean-based through bills are governed by COGSA,
    and ocean vessels like those operated by “K” Line are
    overseen by the Federal Maritime Commission. Supra, at
    4–5. Rail carriers like Union Pacific, furthermore, remain
    subject to the STB’s regulation to the extent they operate
    within the United States. See supra, at 13–14. It is nota
    ble that although the STB has jurisdiction to regulate the
    rates of such carriers, even when the carriage is not gov
    erned by the Carmack Amendment, STB has exercised its
    authority to exempt from certain regulations service pro
    vided by a rail carrier “as part of a continuous intermodal
    freight movement,” 49 CFR §1090.2 (2009), like the jour
    ney at issue in these cases, see ibid. (exercising STB’s
    deregulation authority under 
    49 U.S. C
    . §10502(f)).
       Finally, the cargo owners miss the mark in relying on
    the recent United Nations Convention on Contracts for the
    International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea,
    20   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
    which has yet to be “ratified by the President with the
    advice and consent of the Senate.” Brief for United States
    as Amicus Curiae 11. These so-called “Rotterdam Rules”
    would explicitly allow the inland leg of an international
    shipment to be governed by a different legal regime than
    the ocean leg, under some circumstances. See G. A. Res.
    63/122, art. 26, U. N. Doc. A/RES/63/122 (Dec. 11, 2008).
    Nothing in the Rotterdam Rules, however, requires every
    country to mandate a different regime to govern the inland
    rail leg of an international through shipment; and, as ex
    plained above, Congress, by enacting COGSA, has opted for
    allowing shipments governed by a single through bill. And
    if the objection is that today’s decision will undermine the
    results of these international negotiations in some way,
    that concern is met by the fact that the United States
    Government has urged the result the Court adopts today.
    See Brief for United States as Amicus Curiae 13–29.
       Congress has decided to allow parties engaged in inter
    national maritime commerce to structure their contracts,
    to a large extent, as they see fit. It has not imposed Car
    mack’s regime, textually and historically limited to the
    carriage of goods received for domestic rail transport, onto
    what are “essentially maritime” contracts. Kirby, 543
    U. S., at 24.
                                 V
       “K” Line received the goods in China, under through
    bills for shipment into the United States. “K” Line was
    thus not a receiving rail carrier under Carmack and was
    not required to issue bills of lading under that Amend
    ment. Union Pacific is also not a receiving carrier for this
    carriage and was thus not required to issue Carmack
    compliant bills. Because the journey included no receiving
    rail carrier that had to issue bills of lading under Car
    mack, Carmack does not apply. The parties’ agreement to
    litigate these cases in Tokyo is binding. The cargo owners
                     Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)           21
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
    must abide by the contracts they made.
                            *     *    *
      The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth
    Circuit is reversed, and the cases are remanded for further
    proceedings consistent with this opinion.
                                                It is so ordered.
                     Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)           1
    
                       SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
                             _________________
    
                      Nos. 08–1553 and 08–1554
                             _________________
    
    
          KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD., ET AL.,
                     PETITIONERS
    08–1553               v.
            REGAL-BELOIT CORPORATION ET AL.
    
    UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY, PETITIONER
    08–1554               v.
            REGAL-BELOIT CORPORATION ET AL.
    ON WRITS OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF
                APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
                            [June 21, 2010]
    
      JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR, with whom JUSTICE STEVENS and
    JUSTICE GINSBURG join, dissenting.
      In my view, the Carmack Amendment to the Interstate
    Commerce Act (ICA), §7, 34 Stat. 595, plainly applies to
    the inland leg of a multimodal shipment traveling on an
    international through bill of lading. Unless they have
    permissibly contracted around Carmack’s requirements,
    rail carriers in the United States such as petitioner Union
    Pacific are subject to those requirements, even though
    ocean carriers such as petitioner “K” Line are not. To
    avoid this simple conclusion, the Court contorts the stat­
    ute and our cases, misreads the statutory history, and
    ascribes to Congress a series of policy choices that Con­
    gress manifestly did not make. Because I believe Carmack
    provides the default legal regime for rail transportation of
    cargo within the United States, regardless of whether the
    shipment originated abroad, I would reach the second
    question presented: whether Union Pacific was free to opt
    2   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                       SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    out of Carmack under 
    49 U.S. C
    . §10709, or whether
    Union Pacific first had to offer “K” Line, its contractual
    counterparty, Carmack-compliant terms under §10502.
    As to that question, I would hold that opt-out under
    §10709 was not available and would remand to the Dis­
    trict Court to consider in the first instance whether Union
    Pacific satisfied its obligations under §10502. For these
    reasons, I respectfully dissent.
                                   I
      The Court’s interpretation of Carmack’s scope is wrong
    as a matter of text, history, and policy.
                                  A
                                  1
      I begin with the statute’s text. Two provisions guide my
    conclusion that Carmack provides the default legal regime
    for the inland leg of a multimodal shipment traveling on
    an international through bill of lading: §11706(a), which
    outlines the basic requirements for liability under Car­
    mack, and §10501(a), which defines the jurisdiction of the
    Surface Transportation Board (STB or Board), the succes­
    sor to the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), see
    ante, at 7. Section 11706(a) states as follows:
          “A rail carrier providing transportation or service
        subject to the jurisdiction of the Board under this part
        shall issue a receipt or bill of lading for property it re­
        ceives for transportation under this part. That rail
        carrier and any other carrier that delivers the prop­
        erty and is providing transportation or service subject
        to the jurisdiction of the Board under this part are li­
        able to the person entitled to recover under the receipt
        or bill of lading. The liability imposed under this sub­
        section is for the actual loss or injury to the property
        caused by—
          “(1) the receiving rail carrier;
                      Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)              3
    
                       SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
           “(2) the delivering rail carrier; or
           “(3) another rail carrier over whose line or route the
           property is transported in the United States or from
           a place in the United States to a place in an adja­
           cent foreign country when transported under a
           through bill of lading.
        “Failure to issue a receipt or bill of lading does not af­
        fect the liability of a rail carrier. A delivering rail car­
        rier is deemed to be the rail carrier performing the
        line-haul transportation nearest the destination but
        does not include a rail carrier providing only a switch­
        ing service at the destination.”
    With respect to the Board’s jurisdiction, §10501(a) pro­
    vides as follows:
           “(1) Subject to this chapter, the Board has jurisdic­
        tion over transportation by rail carrier that is—
                “(A) only by railroad; or
                “(B) by railroad and water, when the transporta­
             tion is under common control, management, or ar­
             rangement for a continuous carriage or shipment.
           “(2) Jurisdiction under paragraph (1) applies only to
        transportation in the United States between a place
        in—
             “(A) a State and a place in the same or another
           State as part of the interstate rail network;
             .            .          .           .         .
             “(E) the United States and another place in the
           United States through a foreign country; or
             “(F) the United States and a place in a foreign
           country.”
      “A simple, straight-forward reading of [these provisions]
    practically compels the conclusion that the Carmack
    Amendment applies in a typical multimodal carriage case
    with inland damage.” Sturley, Maritime Cases About
    Train Wrecks: Applying Maritime Law to the Inland
    4   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                        SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    Damage of Ocean Cargo, 40 J. Mar. L. & Com. 1, 13 (2009)
    (hereinafter Train Wrecks).          The first sentence of
    §11706(a) sets forth the circumstances in which a receiv­
    ing rail carrier must issue a bill of lading: when property
    is first “receive[d]” for domestic transportation. This
    sentence does not define the full scope of Carmack liabil­
    ity, however, as the penultimate sentence of §11706(a)
    makes the absence of a bill of lading ultimately immate­
    rial to the question of Carmack liability. Instead, the
    second sentence of §11706(a) establishes Carmack’s ex­
    pansive scope, explaining which carriers are subject to
    Carmack liability: not only the rail carrier that receives
    the property, but also “any other carrier that delivers the
    property and is providing transportation or service subject
    to the jurisdiction of the Board under this part.” Criti­
    cally, that a rail carrier’s provision of “transportation or
    service subject to the jurisdiction of the Board” is the
    criterion that establishes liability under Carmack demon­
    strates that Carmack’s scope must be considered in tan­
    dem with the provision describing the Board’s jurisdiction
    over rail carriage.
       Under that provision, the Board has authority “over
    transportation by rail carrier,” either when that transpor­
    tation is “only by railroad” or when it is “by railroad and
    water, when the transportation is under common control,
    management, or arrangement for a continuous carriage or
    shipment.” §10501(a)(1). Board jurisdiction over trans­
    portation by rail carrier “applies only to transportation in
    the United States,” not to transportation abroad.
    §10501(a)(2). Within the United States, however, Board
    jurisdiction exists broadly whenever that transportation is
    “between,” inter alia, “a place in . . . a State and a place in
    the same or another State as part of the interstate rail
    network,” “a place in . . . the United States and another
    place in the United States through a foreign country,” or
    “a place in . . . the United States and a place in a foreign
                     Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)            5
    
                       SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    country.” §§10501(a)(2)(A), (E), (F).
       With the jurisdictional framework in mind, I return to
    the final sentences of Carmack, §11706. The third sen­
    tence clarifies that liability under Carmack is imposed
    upon (1) “the receiving rail carrier” (which, under the first
    sentence of §11706(a) and the definition of the Board’s
    jurisdiction over domestic rail carriage in §10501(a), is the
    rail carrier that first receives the property for transporta­
    tion in the United States); (2) “the delivering rail carrier”
    (which, under the last sentence of §11706(a) and the
    Board’s jurisdiction over domestic rail carriage in
    §10501(a), is the final rail carrier providing the long­
    distance transportation “nearest the destination” in the
    United States); and (3) “another rail carrier over whose
    line or route the property is transported in the United
    States or from a place in the United States to a place in an
    adjacent foreign country when transported under a
    through bill of lading.” §11706(a). This last phrase in
    §11706(a)(3) serves two functions. It ensures that, where
    the entire rail transportation is “[with]in the United
    States,” any connecting rail carrier between the point at
    which the goods were received and the point at which the
    goods were delivered is liable under Carmack. It also
    ensures that, where the final destination of the goods is in
    Canada or Mexico, such that there is no domestic “deliver­
    ing” carrier, a connecting carrier taking on the goods in
    the United States will remain subject to Carmack as it
    travels toward its foreign destination while still in the
    United States. (As noted, the jurisdictional provision,
    incorporated by reference in §11706(a), is limited to
    “transportation in the United States,” §10501(a)(2).)
       The language of Carmack thus announces an expansive
    intent to provide the liability regime for rail carriage of
    property within the United States. Once a first domestic
    rail carrier subject to the Board’s jurisdiction receives
    property in the United States, Carmack attaches, regard­
    6   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                       SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    less of where the property originated. Carmack then
    applies to any other rail carrier subject to the Board’s
    jurisdiction in the chain of transportation, no matter
    whether the ultimate destination of the property is in the
    United States or elsewhere, for the period the carrier is
    traveling within the United States.
        It seems to me plain that, under these broadly inclusive
    provisions, Carmack governs rail carriers such as Union
    Pacific for any transportation of cargo within the United
    States, whether or not their domestic transportation is
    part of a multimodal international shipment, and whether
    or not they actually issued a domestic bill of lading. There
    is no question that Union Pacific is a “rail carrier” that is
    “subject to the jurisdiction of the Board.” §11706(a). It
    “receive[d]” the cargo, ibid., in California for domestic
    transportation to four different domestic inland loca­
    tions—i.e., “between a place in . . . a State and a place in
    . . . another State,” §10501(a)(2)(A)—while the shipment
    itself was transported “between a place in . . . the United
    States and a place in a foreign country,” §10501(a)(2)(F).
    Union Pacific should have issued a bill of lading for the
    cargo it received, but its failure to do so does not shield it
    from liability, as §11706(a) makes clear. Carmack there­
    fore provides the legal regime governing Union Pacific’s
    rail transportation in these cases.
        Carmack does not, however, govern ocean carriers such
    as “K” Line, because such carriers are not “rail carrier[s]
    providing transportation or service subject to the jurisdic­
    tion of the Board.” §11706(a). The ICA defines a “rail
    carrier” as “a person providing common carrier railroad
    transportation for compensation.” §10102(5). To resolve
    whether “K” Line meets this definition, I would apply the
    STB’s well established test and ask whether it “conduct[s]
    rail operations” and “ ‘hold[s] out’ that service to the pub­
    lic.” Assoc. of P&C Dock Longshoremen v. Pittsburgh and
    Conneaut Dock Co., 8 I. C. C. 2d 280, 290 (1992).
                      Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)              7
    
                        SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
       Respondents—the owners of cargo that was allegedly
    damaged during Union Pacific’s train derailment in Okla­
    homa, ante, at 2–3—primarily contend that “K” Line
    conducted rail operations by using containers to transport
    the cargo from China to the United States in conjunction
    with Union Pacific’s subsequent carriage of those same
    containers. Brief for Respondents 82–83 (noting that the
    statutory definition of “railroad” includes “ ‘intermodal
    equipment used by or in connection with a railroad,’ ”
    §10102(6)(A)). This interpretation goes too far. Read so
    literally, the statute would render a truck a railroad sim­
    ply because the truck transported containers during a
    journey in which the containers also traveled by rail.
    Such a reading would gut the separate provisions of the
    ICA governing motor carriage in subtitle IV, part B of
    Title 49. The ICA’s broad description of what the term
    “railroad” “includes,” §10102(6), is better read as ensuring
    that all services a rail carrier conducts are regulated
    under the Act “to prevent overcharges and discriminations
    from being made under the pretext of performing such
    additional services.” Cleveland, C., C. & St. L. R. Co. v.
    Dettlebach, 
    239 U.S. 588
    , 594 (1916).
       At oral argument, respondents focused on a separate
    argument, contending that “K” Line should be considered
    a rail carrier because it conducts substantial rail opera­
    tions at its depot facility in Long Beach, California. Tr. of
    Oral Arg. 37 (describing transportation between Port of
    Los Angeles, where “K” Line’s private chassis transport
    the containers on the Port’s train tracks to the Los Ange­
    les train depot, where the containers are loaded onto
    Union Pacific trains for inland transportation). I agree
    with the Board, however, that “ ‘ownership and operation
    of private terminal facilities, including rail yards,’ ” is not
    sufficient to bring a shipper within the definition of “ ‘a rail
    carrier subject to [Board] jurisdiction’ ” where the “ ‘termi­
    nal is maintained for [the ocean common carrier’s] exclu­
    8      KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                           SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    sive use in interchanging cargo with rail and motor carri­
    ers providing inland transportation.’ ” Joint Application of
    CSX Corp. & Sea-Land Corp. Under 
    49 U.S. C
    . §11321, 3
    I. C. C. 2d 512, 519 (1987).1
       The jurisdictional provisions of the ICA and the Ship­
    ping Act of 1984, 
    46 U.S. C
    . §40101 et seq., confirm my
    view that “K” Line is not a rail carrier “subject to the
    jurisdiction of the Board,” 
    49 U.S. C
    . §11706(a), under
    Carmack. The STB’s jurisdiction over transportation by
    rail carriers is “exclusive,” §10501(b), while ocean carriers
    are subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Maritime
    Commission (FMC), 
    46 U.S. C
    . §40102; see also 46 CFR
    §520.1 (2009). In addition, the Board’s jurisdiction over
    water carriage is limited to domestic water carriage. 
    49 U.S. C
    . §13521(a)(3). The Board itself has concluded that
    ocean carriers providing intermodal transportation jointly
    with inland rail and motor carriers are subject to the
    FMC’s jurisdiction rather than its own. See Improvement
    of TOFC/COFC Regulations, 3 I. C. C. 2d 869, 883 (1987).
       For these reasons, Carmack governs Union Pacific but
    not “K” Line for the inland transportation at issue in these
    cases.
                                  2
       In finding Carmack inapplicable to the inland transpor­
    tation in these cases, the majority relies on the fact that
    Carmack does not govern ocean carriers such as “K” Line.
    While I agree that “K” Line is not a rail carrier, the major­
    ity places too much weight on that determination. That
    the ocean carrier “K” Line is not subject to Carmack does
    not affect the determination that the rail carrier Union
    Pacific is, for the textual reasons I have explained. The
    ——————
        1 BecauseI do not think that “K” Line conducts rail operations at all,
    I would not reach the question whether “K” Line holds itself out as
    offering rail common carriage. Compare Brief for Respondents 84–85,
    with Reply Brief for Petitioners in No. 08–1553, pp. 7–10.
                          Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)                      9
    
                            SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    majority’s contrary reading of the statute reflects four
    fundamental errors.
      First, the majority reads the term “receiving rail carrier”
    in §11706(a) too narrowly. There is simply no basis in the
    text of the statute to support the majority’s conclusion
    that Carmack applies only when the first rail carrier in
    the chain of transportation accepted the cargo at the
    shipment’s point of origin. Cf. ante, at 10, 12. The two
    cases the majority cites for this proposition are inapposite,
    as neither addresses an international, multimodal ship­
    ment in which the first leg of the trip was by ocean.2 In
    St. Louis, I. M. & S. R. Co. v. Starbird, 
    243 U.S. 592
    , 594
    (1917), the entire shipment was by rail from Arkansas to
    New York City. And in Mexican Light & Power Co. v.
    Texas Mexican R. Co., 
    331 U.S. 731
    , 732 (1947), the entire
    shipment was by rail from Pennsylvania to Mexico. Given
    that the first rail carrier was in each case the carrier that
    received the goods from the shipper and issued a through
    bill of lading, it is unsurprising that the Court, applying
    Carmack, described that carrier as the “initial carrier.”
    243 U. S., at 595; 331 U. S., at 733. But nothing in these
    cases, and nothing in Carmack itself, requires that the
    “receiving carrier” take the goods from the shipper at the
    shipment’s point of origin.3
      Instead, these cases are compatible with my view that
    the “receiving carrier” is any rail carrier that first receives
    cargo for transportation in the United States. Union
    ——————
      2 The additional cases the United States cites for this proposition
    
    suffer from this same flaw. See Brief for United States as Amicus
    Curiae 27–28; Tr. of Oral Arg. 20.
      3 Carmack’s venue provision refers to the “receiving rail carrier” as
    
    the “originating rail carrier” and states that the proper venue for a
    lawsuit against this carrier is “the judicial district in which the point of
    origin is located.” §11706(d)(2)(A)(i). Especially because the focus of
    Carmack is on transportation by rail, the phrase “point of origin” in this
    context is best read as referring to the point of origin of the “originating
    rail carrier[’s]” transportation, not the point of origin of the shipment.
    10   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                            SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    Pacific, which is unquestionably a “rail carrier” in the
    normal sense of those words, is also the “receiving carrier”
    subject to liability under Carmack.4 Our opinion in Reider
    v. Thompson, 
    339 U.S. 113
     (1950), further supports this
    reading. There we explained that the test for Carmack
    applicability “is not where the shipment originated, but
    where the obligation of the carrier as receiving carrier
    originated.” Id., at 117. Because Carmack applies to
    domestic rail transport, and the domestic rail carrier’s
    obligation in that case arose in New Orleans where the
    rail carrier received the goods, it did not matter that the
    shipment began overseas in Buenos Aires. Similarly, in
    the instant cases, because Union Pacific’s obligations to
    transport by rail originated in California, it does not mat­
    ter that the shipment began overseas in China.5
      Second, the majority errs in suggesting that the issu­
    ance of an international through bill of lading precludes
    the applicability of Carmack. Cf. ante, at 10–11, 13. The
    ——————
      4 The  majority suggests that respondents “conceded” at oral argument
    that Union Pacific was not a receiving carrier but only a delivering
    carrier. Ante, at 13. Of course, this Court is not bound by a party’s
    concession in our interpretation of a statute. See, e.g., Massachusetts v.
    United States, 
    333 U.S. 611
    , 624–625 (1948).
       5 Contrary to Union Pacific’s suggestion, Brief for Petitioner in 08–
    
    1554, p. 33, its obligations did not originate in China. “K” Line’s bills of
    lading, issued in China, “entitled [“K” Line] to sub-contract on any
    terms . . . all duties whatsoever undertaken,” App. 145, and therefore
    did not create any obligation on the part of Union Pacific in China. In
    turn, the agreement between “K” Line and Union Pacific—which “K”
    Line made “by and through its duly authorized agent and representa­
    tive in the United States, ‘K’ Line AMERICA, Inc. . . ., a Michigan
    corporation,” id., at 120—was a multiyear contract committing “K” Line
    to “tender to [Union Pacific] not less than 95% of its Container traffic,”
    ibid., but did not actually commit “K” Line to deliver any particular
    piece of cargo to Union Pacific. As “K” Line explains, then, “the Agree­
    ment [with Union Pacific] was a ‘requirements’ contract, which did not
    become effective as to any particular container until ‘K’ Line delivered
    it” to Union Pacific in California. Brief for Petitioners in No. 08–1553,
    p. 12.
                      Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)            11
    
                        SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    cases on which the majority relies do not stand for this
    proposition. In Reider, the Court found Carmack applica­
    ble when the first domestic rail carrier issued a bill of
    lading from New Orleans to Boston. Although we ob­
    served in that opinion that there was no through bill of
    lading from Buenos Aires to Boston, 339 U. S., at 117, we
    did not say, and it is not a necessary corollary, that the
    presence of such a bill of lading would have commanded a
    different result. The observation is better read as indicat­
    ing that no law other than Carmack could possibly have
    applied in that case: Because “the shipment . . . could not
    have moved an inch beyond New Orleans under the ocean
    bill,” id., at 118, a new domestic bill of lading for domestic
    transportation was required, and as to that transporta­
    tion, we held, Carmack unquestionably applied.
       For its part, Mexican Light held only that, where the
    first rail carrier in the chain of transportation issued a bill
    of lading, a subsequent bill of lading issued by a later rail
    carrier was void because Carmack contemplates one
    through bill of lading governing the entire journey by rail.
    331 U. S., at 734. A subsequent bill of lading by a connect­
    ing rail carrier, however, can be void under Carmack
    without requiring the conclusion that an international
    through bill of lading involving initial transportation by
    ocean carrier would void a subsequent bill of lading issued
    in the United States by the first rail carrier in the domes­
    tic chain of transportation. Because the text of Carmack
    expressly requires a bill of lading to be issued for property
    “receive[d] for transportation under this part,” and Union
    Pacific first received the property for rail transportation in
    the United States, it should have issued a bill of lading.
    Of course, its failure to do so did not affect its liability
    under Carmack (or that of a subsequent connecting or
    delivering carrier), as §11706(a) explicitly states.
       Third, the majority errs in giving weight to the differ­
    ence in scope between Carmack liability and the jurisdic­
    12   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                           SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    tion of the Board. Ante, at 14. I agree with the majority
    that Carmack’s reach is narrower than the Board’s juris­
    diction. The Board’s jurisdiction extends over transporta­
    tion by rail carrier “in the United States between a place
    in . . . the United States and a place in a foreign country,”
    §10501(a)(2)(F), which indicates that it does not matter
    whether the movement of the transportation is from the
    United States to the foreign country or from the foreign
    country to the United States.6 In contrast, Carmack ap­
    plies only when a rail carrier first receives property in the
    United States, §11706(a), and therefore would not apply to
    a rail carrier originating in Canada and delivering in the
    United States without transferring the property to a
    domestic rail carrier.7 As long as there is a receiving rail
    carrier in the United States, however, Carmack attaches.
    Because the property at issue in these cases was received
    in the United States for domestic transportation by Union
    Pacific, Carmack governs the rail carrier’s liability.
       Finally, the majority misunderstands the role I believe
    Carmack liability plays in international shipments to the
    United States. My reading of the statute would not “out­
    law through shipments under a single bill of lading.”
    ——————
       6 The ICA’s jurisdictional provision uses the term “foreign country” to
    
    describe the Board’s jurisdiction, §10501(a)(2)(F), while Carmack uses
    the term “adjacent foreign country” to describe the liability of connect­
    ing carriers, §11706(a)(3). I find the difference between these terms to
    be of no moment. Section 10501 describes the Board’s jurisdiction over
    rail carriers, and it is impossible to have connecting rail lines between
    the United States and a foreign country that is not adjacent. This
    reading is confirmed by §10501(a)(2)(E), which refers to the Board’s
    jurisdiction over transportation by railroad “in the United States
    between a place in . . . the United States and another place in the
    United States and a foreign country.” No rail transportation between
    two places in the United States that is interrupted by rail transporta­
    tion through a foreign country could be through a foreign country that
    is anything but adjacent.
       7 This situation is consistent with historical agreements between the
    
    ICC and its Canadian counterpart. See infra, at 14–15.
                         Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)                    13
    
                           SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    Ante, at 13. To the contrary, an overseas ocean carrier
    like “K” Line can still issue a through bill of lading govern­
    ing the entire international trip to an American destina­
    tion. That bill of lading reflects the ocean carrier’s agree­
    ment with and obligations to the original shipper of the
    cargo. As the ocean carrier has no independent Carmack
    obligations of its own, the ocean carrier and the shipper
    are free to select whatever liability terms they wish to
    govern their relationship during the entire shipment. See
    infra, at 20–21. Carmack simply requires an American
    “receiving rail carrier” like Union Pacific to issue a bill of
    lading to the party from whom it received the goods for
    shipment—here, “K” Line. See Norfolk Southern R. Co. v.
    James N. Kirby, Pty Ltd., 
    543 U.S. 14
    , 33 (2004) (“When
    an intermediary contracts with a carrier to transport
    goods, the cargo owner’s recovery against the carrier is
    limited by the liability limitation to which the intermedi­
    ary and carrier agreed”); Great Northern R. Co. v.
    O’Connor, 
    232 U.S. 508
    , 514–515 (1914) (holding that a
    railroad company is entitled to treat the intermediary
    forwarder as the shipper). As to that bill of lading, Car­
    mack provides the legal regime and defines the relation­
    ship between the contracting parties (unless they have
    agreed to contract out of Carmack, see infra, at 23–26).
    The issuance of this second bill of lading, however, in no
    way undermines the efficiency of the through bill of lading
    between the ocean carrier and the original shipper, nor
    does it require that those parties bind themselves to apply
    Carmack to the inland leg.8
    ——————
      8 The majority seems to find it troubling that my view “would require
    
    two bills of lading.” Ante, at 13. But international shipments fre­
    quently contain more than one bill of lading. See, e.g., Kirby, 543 U. S.,
    at 30–33 (interpreting the parties’ obligations under two bills of lading,
    one between a shipper and a freight forwarding company to which the
    shipper originally delivered its goods, and one between the freight
    forwarding company and the ocean carrier to which the freight for­
    14   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                           SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
                                  B
       In addition to misreading the text, the Court’s opinion
    misapplies Carmack’s statutory history. The Court states
    that no version of Carmack has ever applied to imports
    originating overseas on a through bill of lading. Ante, at
    15. The Court further asserts that, because Congress
    stated that the 1978 recodification of the ICA effected no
    “substantive change,” Carmack should be read consis­
    tently with this historical practice. Ante, at 16. There are
    three problems with this analysis.
       First, if “Congress intended no substantive change” to
    Carmack in the 1978 recodification, “that would mean only
    that the present text is the best evidence of what the law
    has always meant, and that the language of the prior
    version cannot be relied upon to support a different read­
    ing.” Keene Corp. v. United States, 
    508 U.S. 200
    , 221
    (1993) (STEVENS, J., dissenting). Because the present text
    of Carmack indicates that it applies to the domestic inland
    rail transportation of a multimodal international ship­
    ment, there is no reason to rely on Congress’ statement in
    the recodification.
       Second, there is no necessary conflict between the pre­
    ——————
    warder delivered the shipper’s goods). The majority also suggests that
    an original shipper might not be able to sue Union Pacific under the
    terms of Union Pacific’s bill with “K” Line. Ante, at 13. In Kirby,
    however, we took as a given that the shipper could sue the inland rail
    carrier, even though the shipper was not a party to the rail carrier’s bill
    of lading with an intermediary. Indeed, we held that in an action
    against the rail carrier, the shipper was bound to the terms of the bill of
    lading governing the rail carrier’s transportation, even though those
    terms were less generous than the terms in the shipper’s through bill of
    lading with the freight forwarder with which it originally contracted.
    543 U. S., at 33–34. We observed that the shipper could sue the freight
    forwarder to recover the difference. Id., at 35. In light of this analysis,
    I see no reason to doubt a shipper’s ability to sue an American rail
    carrier under Carmack, even though its bill of lading with an overseas
    ocean carrier is not governed by Carmack.
                         Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)                    15
    
                           SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    1978 version of Carmack and my reading of the current
    text. The pre-1978 text referred to a carrier “receiving
    property for transportation from a point in one State or
    Territory or the District of Columbia to a point in another
    State, Territory, [or the] District of Columbia, or from any
    point in the United States to a point in an adjacent foreign
    country.” 
    49 U.S. C
    . §20(11) (1976).9 A rail carrier like
    Union Pacific who receives property in California for
    transportation to locations in the American midwest “re­
    ceiv[es] property from a point in one State . . . to a point in
    another State,” regardless of whether the property origi­
    nated in California or China. The geographical restriction
    “from any point in the United States to a point in an adja­
    cent foreign country” simply reflected agreements between
    the ICC and its Canadian counterpart to respect each
    other’s regulation of rail carriage originating in that coun­
    try. See Brief for United States as Amicus Curiae (herein­
    after Brief for United States) 17–18. It does not indicate
    any rejection of Carmack’s applicability to imports as a
    whole or exports to a nonadjacent foreign country.10 In­
    ——————
      9 The  pre-1978 version of Carmack referred generally to a “carrier,”
    rather than a “rail carrier.” It was not until 1995 that Congress distin­
    guished between Carmack’s applicability to rail carriers, §11706, and
    motor carriers, freight forwarders, and domestic water carriers, §14706.
    Pub. L. No. 104–88, §102(a), 109 Stat. 803, 847–849, 907–910.
       10 The Court ignores a further reason to believe that prior to 1978,
    
    Carmack could be understood to apply to imports as well as exports.
    Even assuming (contrary to my view) that the relevant language in
    Carmack governing any international commercial exchange was the
    phrase “from any point in the United States to a point in an adjacent
    foreign country,” the seemingly uni-directional “from . . . to” could
    reasonably have been interpreted as also encompassing “to . . . from” in
    light of our decision in Galveston, H. & S. A. R. Co. v. Woodbury, 
    254 U.S. 357
     (1920). In that case, this Court interpreted similar “from . . .
    to” language in the jurisdictional section of the ICA as conferring
    jurisdiction on the ICC over all transportation between such countries.
    Id., at 359–360 (construing “ ‘transportation . . . from any place in the
    United States to an adjacent foreign country’ ” in former 
    49 U.S. C
    . §1
    16   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                            SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    stead, the “adjacent foreign country” provision was expan­
    sive rather than limiting, ensuring that Carmack would
    apply where a shipment traveled by rail from New York
    City through to Montreal without stopping at the border of
    Canada.
       Third, to the extent there are meaningful differences
    between the pre-1978 text of Carmack and its current text,
    it is the current text that we should interpret, regardless
    of Congress’ general hortatory statement in the 1978
    Public Law applicable to the entire ICA. As we have often
    observed, “[a] specific provision controls one of more gen­
    eral application.” Gozlon-Peretz v. United States, 
    498 U.S. 395
    , 407 (1991). The general statement that Congress
    intended no change to the ICA should not require us to
    ignore what the current text of the specific Carmack pro­
    vision says, as both Union Pacific and “K” Line explicitly
    ask us to do. See Brief for Petitioner in No. 08–1554, at 20
    (“The Pre-1978 Statutory Language Controls This Case”);
    Brief for Petitioners in No. 08–1553, at 41–49 (arguing for
    reliance on pre-1978 text). Petitioners’ view of statutory
    interpretation would give rise to an unwieldy—and un­
    just—system. I would have thought it beyond cavil that
    litigants are entitled to rely on the currently applicable
    version of enacted statutes to determine their rights and
    obligations.
       In the final analysis, the meaning of the pre-1978 lan­
    ——————
    to include “transportation . . . from that country to the United States”).
    Given the “presumption that a given term is used to mean the same
    thing throughout a statute,” Brown v. Gardner, 
    513 U.S. 115
    , 118
    (1994) (citing Atlantic Cleaners & Dyers, Inc. v. United States, 
    286 U.S. 427
     (1932)), our construction of “from . . . to” in the ICA’s jurisdictional
    provision could reasonably have been read to sweep imports within the
    scope of Carmack. I would not, however, read “from . . . to” in the
    current version of §11706(a)(3) to encompass “to . . . from,” as Congress
    specifically amended the similar language in the jurisdictional provi­
    sion at §10501(a)(2) to “between” while leaving intact the “to . . . from”
    in Carmack, against the background of Woodbury.
                         Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)                    17
    
                           SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    guage is murky, and Congress’ instruction that the 1978
    recodification effected no substantive change provides no
    meaningful guidance. The current text does not restrict
    Carmack’s coverage to trade with adjacent foreign coun­
    tries, and it makes no distinction between imports and
    exports. Carmack’s ambiguous history cannot justify
    reading such atextual limitations into the statute.11
                               C
      The Court’s suggestion that its interpretation properly
    effectuates the goals of Carmack and “attains the most
    ——————
       11 The United States, as amicus in support of “K” Line and Union
    
    Pacific, makes an effort to find such limitations in the current statutory
    text. See Brief for United States 21; see also Reply Brief for Petitioner
    in No. 08–1554, p. 10 (agreeing with the United States’ interpretation).
    This argument is unpersuasive. The United States observes that
    §11706(a)(3) describes the liability of “another rail carrier over whose
    line or route the property is transported in the United States or from a
    place in the United States to a place in an adjacent foreign country
    when transported under a through bill of lading.” (Emphasis added.)
    According to the United States, “[t]hat textual limitation, when read in
    light of Carmack’s purpose, reflects Congress’s continued intent to
    restrict Carmack to the carriage of goods between places in the United
    States and for export to an adjacent foreign country.” Brief for United
    States 21. As I have already explained, however, once a domestic rail
    carrier first receives property for transportation within the United
    States, regardless of where the property itself originated, Carmack
    applies. Supra, at 3–6. Section 11706(a)(3) simply ensures that when a
    connecting carrier that neither received the property in the United
    States nor delivered it in the United States transports the property
    from the United States to either Canada or Mexico, that connecting
    carrier remains subject to Carmack liability during the part of the
    transportation that is in the United States. Further, as I explain
    below, see infra, at 18–20, Carmack’s purpose would be better effectu­
    ated by applying its provisions inland as the default rule. In any event,
    the “adjacent foreign country” provision in §11706(a)(3) has no bearing
    on the rail transportation provided in these cases by Union Pacific as
    “receiving rail carrier,” §11706(a), from California to four locations in
    the American midwest. To this transportation, Carmack plainly
    applies.
    18   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                        SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    consistency between Carmack and [the Carriage of Goods
    by Sea Act (COGSA)],” ante, at 17, reflects its fundamental
    misunderstanding of these statutes and the broader legal
    context in which the international shipping industry
    functions. As the mandatory default regime governing the
    relationship between an American receiving rail carrier
    and its direct contracting partner (here an overseas ocean
    carrier), Carmack permits the shippers who contract for a
    through bill of lading with the ocean carrier to receive the
    benefit of Carmack through that once-removed relation­
    ship. Such a legal regime is entirely consistent with
    COGSA and industry practice.
       As noted, the Court’s position as to Carmack rests on its
    erroneous belief that the “receiving carrier” must receive
    the goods at the point of the shipment’s origin. Ante, at
    12–15. Because Carmack provides that suit against the
    receiving rail carrier “may only be brought . . . in the
    judicial district in which the point of origin is located,” 
    49 U.S. C
    . §11706(d)(2)(A)(i), and defines “judicial district” as
    only a federal or state court, §11706(d)(2)(B), the Court
    mistakenly concludes that were Carmack to apply to
    inland transportation of international shipments, “there
    would often be no venue in which to sue the receiving
    carrier” because that carrier would have received the
    goods in a foreign country where no federal or state court
    exists. Ante, at 14–15, 17. Contrary to the Court’s sugges­
    tion, however, the proper venue in which to sue a receiving
    carrier under Carmack is the location in which the first
    domestic rail carrier received the goods for domestic
    transportation. Supra, at 4–5, 9.
       Nor is it true that Carmack’s focus is on providing a
    single through bill of lading for an entire shipment. Ante,
    at 17. Carmack’s purpose in §11706 is to ensure that a
    single bill of lading, with a single protective liability re­
    gime, governs an entire shipment by rail carrier within
                        Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)                19
    
                          SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    the United States.12 It does not require the rail carrier to
    offer Carmack-compliant terms to anyone but the party
    with whom the rail carrier contracts when it receives the
    goods. It does not place obligations on the relationship
    between any overseas carrier and any overseas shipper
    who operate under their own bill of lading. That Congress
    expected different liability regimes to govern ocean and
    rail carriers can be inferred from the different regulatory
    oversight provided for each type of carrier—the FMC for
    the former, the STB for the latter, see supra, at 8.
       Moreover, that Carmack provides certain greater pro­
    tections than does COGSA demonstrates that one of Car­
    mack’s purposes—beyond simply the fact of a single bill of
    lading governing all rail transportation—was to specify a
    protective liability regime for that part of the shipment
    only. As compared to COGSA, Carmack provides height­
    ened liability rules for rail transportation, compare
    COGSA §4, 49 Stat. 1207, note following 
    46 U.S. C
    .
    §30701, p. 1179, with 
    49 U.S. C
    . §§11706(a)–(c); stricter
    venue requirements, compare Vimar Seguros y Reasegu
    ros, S. A. v. M/V Sky Reefer, 
    515 U.S. 528
    , 535 (1995),
    with §11706(d); and more generous time allowances for
    filing suit, compare COGSA §3(6), at 1179, with §11706(e).
    Congress is evidently wary of creating broad exemptions
    from Carmack’s regime: While Congress has given expan­
    sive authority to the STB to deregulate carriers from the
    requirements of the ICA, it has precluded the STB from
    excusing carriers from complying with Carmack. See
    infra, at 25 (discussing §10502). By taking Carmack’s
    protections out of the picture for goods that travel by rail
    in the United States whenever the goods first traveled by
    ocean liner, it is the Court that “undermine[s] Carmack’s
    purposes,” ante, at 17. Cf. Reider, 339 U. S., at 119 (apply­
    ——————
      12 A separate version of Carmack applies to motor and other nonrail
    
    carriers within the United States. See supra, at 15, n. 8.
    20   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                       SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    ing Carmack to domestic rail transportation of goods, even
    where the goods originated overseas, in order to avoid
    “immuniz[ing] from the beneficial provisions of the [Car­
    mack] Amendment all shipments originating in a foreign
    country when reshipped via the very transportation chain
    with which the Amendment was most concerned”).
       The Court’s suggestion that its interpretation best
    comports with the goals of COGSA fares no better. The
    Court is correct, ante, at 8, that Congress has permitted
    parties contractually to extend COGSA, which, by its own
    terms, applies only to the period “from the time when the
    goods are loaded on to the time when they are discharged
    from the ship.” §§1(e), 7, at 1178, 1180. But the Court
    ignores that COGSA specifically contemplates that there
    may be “other law” that mandatorily governs the inland
    leg, and makes clear that contractual extension of COGSA
    does not trump this law. §12, at 1180 (“Nothing in
    [COGSA] shall be construed as superseding . . . any . . .
    other law which would be applicable in the absence of
    [COGSA], insofar as they relate to the duties, responsibili­
    ties, and liabilities of the ship or carrier prior to the time
    when the goods are loaded on or after the time they are
    discharged from the ship”); see also Sturley, Freedom of
    Contract and the Ironic Story of Section 7 of the Carriage
    of Goods by Sea Act, 4 Benedict’s Mar. Bull. 201, 202
    (2006) (“It is highly ironic to suggest that section 7 was
    intended to facilitate the extension of COGSA [inland].
    The unambiguous history demonstrates that section 7 was
    specifically designed to accomplish exactly the opposite
    result”). Notably, when it wants to do so, Congress knows
    how to specify that a contractual extension of COGSA
    supersedes other law: COGSA elsewhere defines a limited
    circumstance—the carriage of goods by sea between ports
    of the United States—in which a contractual extension of
    COGSA has the force of law. §13, at 1180 (providing that
    such bills of lading “shall be subjected hereto as fully as if
                         Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)                  21
    
                          SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    subject hereto by the express provisions of [COGSA]”).
    That Congress did not make the same provision for inland
    travel is powerful evidence that it meant for Carmack to
    remain the default regime on land governing the relation­
    ship between an inland rail carrier and an overseas car­
    rier with which it directly contracted.
       The Court is also wrong that its interpretation avoids
    the risk that two sets of rules will apply to the same ship­
    ment at different times.13 Ante, at 17–18. Even under the
    Court’s interpretation, two sets of rules may govern, be­
    cause the parties need not extend COGSA to the inland
    leg—they may agree on any terms they choose to cover
    that transportation. §7, at 1180 (permitting the parties to
    “ente[r] into any agreement . . . as to the responsibility and
    liability of the carrier or the ship” for the period before the
    goods are loaded on and after they are discharged from the
    ship (emphasis added)); see also Train Wrecks 23
    (“[C]arriers regularly include clauses in their bills of lad­
    ing to limit their liability [for inland travel] in ways that
    COGSA prohibits”); 1 T. Schoenbaum, Admiralty and
    Maritime Law §10–4, p. 599–600 (4th ed. 2004) (describing
    typical non-COGSA liability rules parties select for the
    inland leg). In these cases, for example, “K” Line’s bills of
    lading include certain terms governing the inland leg that
    differ from the terms governing the ocean carriage. See,
    e.g., App. 147 (providing different time frames within
    which suit must be brought depending on whether the
    actionable conduct “occurred during other than Water
    Carriage”).
       The Court relies heavily on Kirby as identifying the
    relevant policy consideration in these cases, but it takes
    
    ——————
      13 Nor would my interpretation of the statute necessarily require that
    two different regimes apply to each shipment, given the parties’ ability
    to contract around Carmack as long as they follow appropriate proce­
    dures, infra, at 25–27, and, if they so choose, select COGSA terms.
    22   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                           SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    the wrong lesson from Kirby. In that case, we were con­
    cerned about displacing a single federal law, COGSA, with
    50 varying state liability regimes.14 543 U. S., at 28–29.
    The rule the Court establishes today creates even greater
    practical difficulties than the regime we criticized in Kirby
    by displacing Carmack with as many liability rules as
    there are bills of lading. It would even permit different
    liability rules to apply to different lawsuits arising out of
    the same inland accident depending on where each piece
    of cargo originated. Contrary to the Court’s view, then,
    the value of uniformity articulated in Kirby is best pro­
    moted by application of Carmack to the obligations of the
    rail carrier during the inland leg in these cases. Cf. ante,
    at 7–8, 17–18.
       Finally, while purporting to effectuate the contractual
    choices of the parties in the international multimodal
    shipping industry, ante, at 17–20, the Court ignores the
    realities of the industry’s operation. The industry has long
    been accustomed to drafting bills of lading that encompass
    two legal regimes, one governing ocean transportation and
    another governing inland transportation, given mandatory
    law governing road and rail carriage in most of Europe
    and in certain countries in Asia and North Africa. See
    generally Convention on the Contract for the International
    Carriage of Goods by Road, May 19, 1956, 399 U. N. T. S.
    189; Uniform Rules Concerning the Contract for Interna­
    tional Carriage of Goods by Rail, App. B to the Convention
    Concerning International Carriage by Rail, May 9, 1980,
    1397 U. N. T. S. 112, as amended by Protocol for the Modi­
    fication of the Convention Concerning International Car­
    riage of Rail of May 9, 1980, June 3, 1999. Indeed, “K”
    ——————
      14 Kirby did not address the question of Carmack’s applicability to the
    
    inland leg of a multimodal international shipment traveling on a
    through bill of lading because that question was not presented. Brief
    for United States as Amicus Curiae in Norfolk Southern R. Co. v. Kirby,
    O. T. 2004, No. 02–1028, pp. 11–12; ante, at 2.
                         Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)                  23
    
                          SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    Line’s own bills of lading evidence this practice, providing
    that, where an “applicable international convention or
    national law” exists, “cannot be departed from,” and
    “would have applied” if a separate contract for inland
    carriage had been made between the merchant and the
    inland carrier, those laws govern “K” Line’s liability. Brief
    for Respondents 53.
      The recently signed United Nations Convention on
    Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly
    or Partly by Sea, also known as the “Rotterdam Rules,”
    provided an opportunity for the international community
    to adopt rules for multimodal shipments that would be
    uniform for both the ocean and inland legs. See generally
    Train Wrecks 36–39. Instead, the final version of the
    Rotterdam Rules retained the current system in which the
    inland leg may be governed by a different legal regime
    than the ocean leg. See United Nations Convention on
    Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly
    or Partly by Sea, G. A. Res. 63/122, art. 26, A/RES/63/122,
    (Dec. 11, 2008). The Association of American Railroads
    and the United States, among others, advocated for this
    outcome.15 See Proposal of the United States of America
    on the Definition of “Maritime Performing Party,” U. N.
    Doc. A/CN.9/WG.III/WP.84, at ¶¶1–2 (Feb. 28, 2007);
    Proposal by the United States of America, U. N. Doc.
    A/CN.9/WG.III/WP.34, ¶7 (Aug. 7, 2003); Proposals by the
    International Road Transport Union (IRU), U. N. Doc.
    A/CN.9/WG.III/WP.90, ¶1 (Mar. 27, 2007); Preparation of
    a Draft Instrument on the Carriage of Goods [by Sea],
    Compilation of Replies to a Questionnaire on Door-to-Door
    Transport, U. N. Doc. A/CN.9/WG.III/WP.28, at 32–34, 43
    (Jan. 31, 2003) (Comments on behalf of the Association of
    American Railroads and the International Road Transport
    ——————
      15 Petitioner Union Pacific is a leading member of the American Asso­
    
    ciation of Railroads. Train Wrecks 37, n. 214.
    24   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                           SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    Union). Thus, the Court’s mistaken interpretation not
    only upsets domestic law but also disregards industry
    practice as evidenced by carefully calibrated international
    negotiations.16
                                 II
       Because, in my view, Carmack provides the default legal
    regime governing the relationship between the rail carrier
    and the ocean carrier during the inland leg of a multimo­
    dal shipment traveling on a through bill of lading, I would
    reach the second question presented by these cases:
    whether the parties validly contracted out of Carmack. I
    would hold that where, as here, the STB has exempted rail
    carriers from Part A of the ICA pursuant to its authority
    as set forth in 
    49 U.S. C
    . §10502, such rail carriers may
    not use §10709 to opt out of Carmack entirely. Instead,
    such rail carriers must first offer their contractual coun­
    terparties Carmack-compliant terms for liability and
    claims, as §10502(e) requires. Having reached that con­
    clusion, I would remand for consideration of whether the
    requirements of §10502(e) were met in these cases. I set
    forth these views only briefly, as the Court’s determina­
    tion that Carmack does not apply at all makes resolution
    of these questions moot.
                               A
      In the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, Pub. L. 96–448, 94
    Stat. 1895, Congress set forth a national policy of “al­
    ——————
      16 The Court’s observation that nothing in the Rotterdam Rules “re­
    
    quires every country to mandate a different regime to govern the inland
    rail leg of an international through shipment” is irrelevant. Ante, at 20.
    The Rotterdam Rules demonstrate simply that it is common practice to
    have different regimes for inland and ocean transportation, so giving
    full effect to Carmack as the default law governing the relationship
    between “K” Line and Union Pacific can hardly be said to “undermine
    COGSA and international, container-based multimodal transport,”
    ante, at 17.
                     Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)           25
    
                       SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    low[ing], to the maximum extent possible, competition and
    the demand for services to establish reasonable rates for
    transportation by rail” and “minimiz[ing] the need for
    Federal regulatory control” of the railroad industry. §101,
    id., at 1897. Consistent with these goals, 
    49 U.S. C
    .
    §§10502 and 10709 provide two options for contracting
    around the requirements of the ICA.
       Section 10502(a) provides that when certain conditions
    are met, the Board “shall exempt,” “to the maximum
    extent consistent with this part,” “a person, class of per­
    sons, or a transaction or service” from either a particular
    provision of Part A of the ICA or the entirety of that Part.
    Section 10502(f) specifies that “[t]he Board may exercise
    its authority under this section to exempt transportation
    that is provided by a rail carrier as part of a continuous
    intermodal movement.” Acting pursuant to this authority,
    the Board has broadly exempted such transportation
    “from the requirements of [the ICA].” 49 CFR §1090.2
    (2009). The authority to issue broad exemptions, however,
    is not unlimited. Under 
    49 U.S. C
    . §10502(e), “[n]o ex­
    emption order issued pursuant to this section shall oper­
    ate to relieve any rail carrier from an obligation to provide
    contractual terms for liability and claims which are consis­
    tent with the provisions of [Carmack],” although, at the
    same time, “[n]othing . . . shall prevent rail carriers from
    offering alternative terms.” Section 10502(g) further
    limits the Board from exempting rail carriers from their
    obligations to comply with certain employee protections
    under Part A of the ICA.
       In turn, under §10709(a), “[o]ne or more rail carriers
    providing transportation subject to the jurisdiction of the
    Board . . . may enter into a contract with one or more
    purchasers of rail services to provide specified services
    under specified rates and conditions.” Having signed such
    a contract, a rail carrier “shall have no duty in connection
    with services provided under such contract other than
    26   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                       SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    those duties specified by the terms of the contract.”
    §10709(b). Once such a contract is made, that contract,
    “and transportation under such contract, shall not be
    subject to this part, and may not be subsequently chal­
    lenged before the Board or in any court on the grounds
    that such contract violates a provision of [Part A of the
    ICA].” §10709(c)(1).
       According to Union Pacific, §10502(e) limits only the
    Board’s exemption ability; it does not place any affirma­
    tive obligation on rail carriers to offer Carmack-compliant
    terms. Rail carriers, Union Pacific contends, may opt out
    of Carmack entirely simply by entering into a contract
    under §10709, thus escaping any duty imposed by Part A
    of the ICA. I disagree. I am persuaded by the Govern­
    ment’s view that because the Board’s order in 49 CFR
    §1090.2 exempted intermodal rail transportation from all
    of Part A of the ICA, which includes 
    49 U.S. C
    . §10709,
    “Union Pacific could not properly enter into a contract
    under Section 10709 to relieve it of its obligations under
    Section 10502(e).” Brief for United States 31. Those
    obligations require “a rail carrier providing exempt trans­
    portation [to] offer the shipper the option of contractual
    terms for liability and claims consistent with Carmack,
    presumably at a higher rate,” and they permit such a rail
    carrier to “enter into a contract with different terms only if
    the shipper does not select that option.” Id., at 30.
       Observing that the Board’s exemption order relieves
    intermodal rail transportation from the “requirements” of
    Part A, Union Pacific contends that §10709 is not a re­
    quirement but a privilege and therefore is not included
    within the exemption. In clarifying its order, however, the
    Board has described the exemption as one from “regula­
    tion” under the ICA or “application” of that Act. See, e.g.,
    Improvement of TOFC/COFC Regulations, 3 I. C. C. 2d, at
    869–870. Especially in light of this clarification, there
    seems little reason to ascribe significance to the Board’s
                     Cite as: 561 U. S. ____ (2010)           27
    
                       SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    use of the word “requirements,” instead of the statutory
    term “provision,” in the exemption order.
       The Government aptly describes the policy concerns
    that justify this reading of the interplay between §§10502
    and 10709. Brief for United States 31–32. Because a rail
    carrier’s counterparty to a §10709 contract can ordinarily
    require a rail carrier to comply with common carriage
    rates and terms under Part A (including Carmack), such
    counterparties possess considerable bargaining power.
    But rail carriers the Board has exempted from Part A
    under §10502 lack any obligation to comply with that
    Part. If exempt carriers could escape Carmack’s obliga­
    tions under §10709, their counterparties would be at a
    significant disadvantage as compared to counterparties to
    contracts with nonexempt carriers. Such a disadvantage
    cannot be squared with Congress’ evident intent, as ex­
    pressed in §10502(e), to ensure that no carrier may be
    automatically exempted from Carmack.
       This interpretation of §§10502 and 10709 imposes no
    unfairness on exempt rail carriers. As the Court of Ap­
    peals explained, “carriers providing exempt transportation
    gain the benefits of deregulation, but lose the opportunity
    to contract for preferable terms under §10709 without first
    offering Carmack terms.” 
    557 F.3d 985
    , 1002 (CA9 2009).
    Given rail carriers’ ability to charge higher rates for full
    Carmack coverage, see New York, N. H. & H. R. Co. v.
    Nothnagle, 
    346 U.S. 128
    , 135 (1953), and the likelihood
    that some counterparties will agree to reject Carmack­
    compliant terms in favor of a lower price, such a trade-off
    makes eminent sense.
                                 B
       Whether Union Pacific properly contracted out of Car­
    mack under §10502(e) requires a factual determination
    better suited for resolution by the District Court in the
    first instance. Accordingly, I would remand for considera­
    28   KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LTD. v. REGAL-BELOIT CORP.
    
                        SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting
    
    tion of that issue. Cf. 
    557 F. 3d
    , at 1003. Union Pacific
    also raises a related legal argument not decided by the
    courts below: that the forum selection clause at issue in
    these cases is valid because venue is not encompassed
    within the phrase “contractual terms for liability and
    claims” in §10502(e). To the extent this argument is not
    waived, it would also be properly considered on remand.
                             *      *     *
      In endorsing a strained reading of the text, history, and
    purpose of Carmack, the Court is evidently concerned with
    a perceived need to enforce the COGSA-based contracts
    that the “sophisticated cargo owners” here made with “K”
    Line. Ante, at 18. But these cases do not require the
    Court to interpret or examine the contract between the
    cargo owners and “K” Line. The Court need consider only
    the legal relationship between Union Pacific and “K” Line
    as its direct contracting party. As to that relationship, it
    bears emphasizing that industry actors on all sides are
    sophisticated and can easily adapt to a regime in which
    Carmack provides the default rule governing the rail
    carrier’s liability during the inland leg of a multimodal
    shipment traveling on an international through bill of
    lading. See, e.g., Train Wrecks 40 (describing how ocean
    and rail carriers have drafted their contracts to account
    for—and permissibly escape—Carmack’s applicability); cf.
    Kirby, 543 U. S., at 36 (recognizing that “our decision does
    no more than provide a legal backdrop against which
    future bills of lading will be negotiated”). In disregarding
    Congress’ commands in both Carmack and COGSA and in
    discounting the practical realities reflected in the Rotter­
    dam Rules and other international conventions governing
    the carriage of goods, the Court ignores what we acknowl­
    edged in Kirby: “It is not . . . this Court’s task to structure
    the international shipping industry.” Ibid. I respectfully
    dissent.
    

Document Info

DocketNumber: 08-1553

Citation Numbers: 561 U.S. 89, 130 S. Ct. 2433, 177 L. Ed. 2d 424, 2010 U.S. LEXIS 4982

Filed Date: 6/21/2010

Precedential Status: Precedential

Modified Date: 12/5/2017

Authorities (26)

Altadis USA, Inc. v. Sea Star Line, LLC , 458 F.3d 1288 ( 2006 )

United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co. , 200 U.S. 321 ( 1906 )

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