The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission voted this week to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR) that would allow foreign non-vessel-operating common carriers to enter into negotiated rate arrangements (NRAs).
The NPR in Docket No. 11-22: Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carrier Negotiated Rate Arrangements; Tariff Publication Exemption
will impose registration requirements on foreign-based unlicensed NVOs, and extend the exemption from certain provisions and requirements of the 1984 Shipping Act and the commission regulations to foreign-based unlicensed NVOs that agree to negotiated rate arrangements.
The FMC is expected to publish the NPR in the Federal Register
early next week and in its electronic reading room. There will be a 60-day comment period.
The commission also agreed to give priority to review of service contracts and NVOCC Service Arrangements (NSAs) as part of its wide-ranging retrospective review of existing rules.
Ed Greenberg, counsel for the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, said originally the FMC was not going to look at that issue until 2015, but it has now voted to advance it this year.
FMC Commissioner Rebecca Dye noted in remarks the FMC received suggestions from both ocean carriers and transportation intermediaries that “focused on ways to make the commision's programs and regulations more efficient and less burdensome and included ways to improve our service contract filing and NVOCC Service Arrangement regulations.”
She said the commission had also "received emails and letters from many shippers and NVOCCs who encourage us to sit down with them, their ocean carrier and forwarder business partners and come up with a system that is easier to administer at less cost."
Greenberg said carriers have been asking for some time if it might be possible instead of filing all the amendments and service contracts before they go into effect, that they be filed periodically, perhaps at the end of each year.
“And we have been saying for NVOs, there should be no reason to have to file NSAs at all in various pleadings we have had. The commission has agreed to look into that,” Greenberg said. “I don’t know what they are going to do about it, but hopefully they will grant relief to both the carriers and NVOs, but I think that is fairly significant issue that they have agreed to move it up and look at it.” - Chris Dupin