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FMC Approves Remaining Two Final Rules Implementing OSRA at Commission Meeting

February 26, 1999

FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION

FMC APPROVES REMAINING TWO FINAL RULES
IMPLEMENTING OSRA AT COMMISSION MEETING

Washington, D.C. 20573

NR 99-05


CONTACT BRYANT L. VANBRAKLE, SECRETARY AT (202) 523-5725

FOR RELEASE: February 26, 1999

At its meeting yesterday the Commission approved two rules, implementing Commission decisions made last week at its meeting of February 18, 1999. The two rules approved were:

1. Docket No. 98-30 - Rulemaking for 46 CFR Part 530 - Service Contracts. The Commission approved issuance of a final rule, but determined to issue it as an interim final rule due to the major changes and new provisions it contains. The interim final rule will significantly scale back the various requirements that were contained in the proposed rule. It also provides for an Internet-based service contract filing system that would permit contract filers to use "off the shelf software" to file service contracts utilizing standard word processing formats. The ATFI-based service contract filing system described in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will be maintained as an option for a brief period to assist filers' transition to this new system. The Commission will accept comment on the interim final rule through April 1, 1999, and this rule will become effective May 1, 1999, unless modified as a result of comments received.

2. Docket No. 98-26 - Rulemaking for 46 CFR Part 535 - Ocean Common Carrier and Marine Terminal Operator Agreements Subject to the Shipping Act of 1984. The Commission voted to approve a final rule. The final rule removes the service contract reporting requirements for agreements contained in the proposed rule, and modifies the proposed provision dealing with "voluntary guidelines" for individual service contracting to closely track the statutory language. The final rule will contain the provision of the proposed rule that eliminates specific form and manner requirements related to the filing of agreements. The final rule will take effect May 1, 1999, as provided by the Ocean Shipping Reform Act.