The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission voted Wednesday to allow foreign non-vessel-operating common carriers to enter into negotiated rate arrangements (NRAs), a move designed to ease their administrative burden and bring consistency to the tariff filing process.
The revised rule, published Thursday in the Federal Register
, was lauded by intermediary advocate groups in comments filed with the FMC. The commission first proposed the changes
“(The revision) will resolve the problem of unequal playing fields for foreign-based NVOCCs and their competitors in the United States and will give them the same tools to serve their customers without additional costs,” the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) said in its comments.
reported in May the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America strongly supported the revisions
The association asserted the continued existence of NVO rate tariff publication no longer served a useful purpose because shippers didn’t use them and are able to conduct business with NVOs through the private negotiation process that has evolved since the enactment of the 1998 Ocean Shipping Reform Act.
"The only support for the continuedrequirement of mandatory tariff publication has come from several tariff publishers, who understandably are not pleased to lose a significant source of revenue," NCBFAA said.
The association also said removing the “artificial” distinction between U.S. and foreign NVOs would help avoid possible regulatory measures of foreign governments seeking to level the playing field between their nationals and those from the United States.
The final rule is effective July 19 and companies have until Oct. 17 to comply. - Eric Johnson