Federal Maritime Commission

The following is a short, to the point, summary of recent developments which impact transportation intermediaries, some of which can be implemented simply without fanfare, others which just bear careful monitoring.  The Federal Maritime Commission (“FMC”) recently passed new regulations relating to Negotiated Rate Arrangements (“NRAs”), and NVOCC Service Arrangements (“NSAs”) which require some simple implementation, but then little else. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) has amended Hours of Service regulations which provide for strict usage of Electronic Logging Devices (“ELDs”), and a corresponding obligation for those intermediaries who select motor carriers for transport. Last but not least, we will briefly explore the question of where is the transport intermediary industry headed in the evolving e-commerce revolution?


Continue Reading Update on Current Issues Impacting Transportation Intermediaries

WHEN? The Federal Maritime Commission by Final Rule issued July 19, 2018 took final rules to simplify freight pricing requirements for Non-vessel Operating Common Carriers (“NVOCCs”) by establishing changes to Negotiated Rate Arrangements (NRAs) and NVOCC Service Arrangements (NSAs). These new Rules become effective August 22, 2018.
Continue Reading New FMC Regulations Effective August 22, 2018

WHEN? On June 6, 2018, the Federal Maritime Commission took steps to simplify freight pricing requirements for Non-vessel Operating Common Carriers (“NVOCCs”) by “approving” changes to Negotiated Rate Arrangements (NRAs) and NVOCC Service Arrangements (NSAs). While many NVOCCs are still utilizing the fast disappearing tariff publication methods of meeting the regulatory shipping requirements, it is our opinion that the contemplated changes to NRAs and NSAs will win over the NVOCC community to their almost exclusive usage. While the “Final Rules” were approved, it was clear from the FMC meeting, that the written provisions were still at a drafting stage. In discussions with senior FMC staff, it is our understanding that the so-called “Final Rules” will be going to the Federal Register later this week. By law they are required to be posted on the Federal Register for 30 days before becoming effective. Therefore, a good bet would be that these rules will be effective sometime in the first week of August, 2018.
Continue Reading New NVOCC Pricing Models on The Horizon

North America MapThe government shutdown began on Saturday at 12:01am. Here is a list of several agencies involved in trade and transportation issues that will be affected.

International Trade Commission

The International Trade Commission will only have three to seven individuals working during the shutdown in order to protect life and property. The six Commissioners are presidential appointees and therefore are exempt from the furlough.
Continue Reading Impact of Government Shutdown on Trade

cargo shipOn November 8, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a Notice for Proposed Rulemaking regarding modifications to NVOCC Service Arrangements (NSAs) and Negotiated Rate Arrangements (NRAs).

NSAs:

NSAs will continue to serve as basic agreements between NVOCCS and their customers for comprehensive longer-termed ocean transport agreements with provisions similar to those included in ocean carrier service contracts, with two basic differences:
Continue Reading Federal Maritime Commission NVOCC Deregulation More Imminent

cargo shipJuly 5 is the deadline to submit comments in response to the Federal Maritime Commission’s Notice of Inquiry seeking guidance on maritime regulations that should be modified or eliminated. As noted in our previous post, within the NOI the FMC specifically identifies the regulations which impose tariff publication requirements (46 C.F.R. §520) as a target for deregulation.

Coupled with recent comments by Acting FMC Chairman Michael Khouri acknowledging the lack of purpose in tariff publication, it appears that tariff publication requirements may be coming to an end:


Continue Reading Tariff Reform: FMC Taking Aim

Container ShipCurrent bills (HR 2593, S. 1119) authorizing appropriations for the Federal Maritime Commission contain substantive terms which seem to forecast the path the regulatory agency is taking with respect to both tariff requirements and regulation of ocean transportation intermediaries.

Tariff References

The bills address some meaningful changes to the current antiquated tariff system. Combined with the FMC’s new Regulatory Reform Task Force, and the corresponding Notice of Inquiry issued by the FMC seeking specifics from the shipping public for deregulation, it appears the FMC  may be taking a clear stance on tariffs. Acting Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, Michael Khouri, has made several public statements which confirm the conclusion that tariffs have no place in the current ocean transportation marketplace.


Continue Reading The Federal Maritime Commission Authorization Act of 2017: A Death Knell for Tariffs and Closer Carrier Scrutiny?

cargo ship containersOn August 31, 2016, Hanjin Shipping Co. filed for bankruptcy protection in South Korea. Two days later, Hanjin filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey for Chapter 15, which provides a mechanism in the U.S. for resolving problems that arise in cross-border bankruptcies. Three out of four U.S. shippers reportedly have

cratesThe current marine container logjams at terminals and containership backups on the West Coast have caused grave concern for all stakeholders in the supply chain.  In recent weeks there have been anywhere from 16 to 35 vessels laying-to awaiting berth availability at LA/Long Beach and other West Coast Ports.  The matter has escalated to the President’s desk with Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Commerce Secretary Penny Prizker weighing in on the labor union/maritime employers side of the problem. The causal factors for this situation that began last July appear to stem from stalled negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) resulting in allegations of slowdowns and lockouts.
Continue Reading West Coast Ocean Container Chaos

Click here for “West Coast Ocean Cargo Congestion: Facts And Remedies,” Carlos Rodriguez’s original article.

The below surcharges were to have been implemented effective November 17, 2014 by ocean carriers for import/export traffic through the West Coast ports:

There was a loud outburst by shippers and shipper groups, and the Federal Maritime Commission, as did we, questioned the legality of applying the surcharges to cargo already in ocean carriers’ systems either at origin, in route, or at West coast destinations.
Continue Reading Epilogue to West Coast Congestion Surcharges