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Final Rule for Freight Index-Based Service Contracts Released

March 5, 2012

NR 12-06

Contact: Karen V. Gregory, Secretary (202-523-5725)

The Federal Maritime Commission issued a final rule for freight index-based service contracts to provide flexibility and certainty to ocean carriers and their customers. The new rule makes clear that service contracts can reference freight indices or other outside terms, so long as they are readily available to the contracting parties and the Commission.

Chairman Lidinsky stated: "Shippers and carriers have told us that index-based contracts and risk management can be useful tools, and the FMC is listening. We are also hearing from U.S. exporters who are interested in indices that track the rates for shipping their goods. In today’s marketplace, we can’t control the winds, but we want shippers and carriers to have a range of options in how they set their sails."

The Federal Maritime Commission is the federal agency responsible for regulating the nation’s international ocean transportation for the benefit of exporters, importers, and the American consumer. The FMC’s mission is to foster a fair, efficient, and reliable international ocean transportation system while protecting the public from unfair and deceptive practices.