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Philippines Disaster Relief Advisory

November 15, 2013

Chairman Mario Cordero stated, "On behalf of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), I extend my deepest condolences to the people of the Philippines on the loss of life and significant damage suffered in the wake of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) on November 8, 2013. The Government of the United States is providing $20 million in immediate humanitarian assistance to benefit typhoon-affected populations. I am also very pleased to report that many in the maritime industry have taken swift action to provide assistance. I have instructed the Commission’s staff to take all possible measures available to assist the people of the Philippines as they recover from this tragedy."

FMC-regulated entities have the following flexibilities without further request for Commission action:

  • Common carriers can quickly begin new service to the Philippines and waive or reduce charges for charitable shipments to the Philippines; common carrier tariff publications for trades, points, or ports not presently served may become effective upon publication. Tariff rates and charges can be reduced or waived upon publication. 46 C.F.R. 530.8(a)(1); 46 C.F.R. 520.8(b)(3)
     
  • Expedited review is available for agreements among ocean common carriers to facilitate services from the United States to the Philippines. Many such agreements are eligible to become effective upon filing; for those that are not, parties may request expedited review and such agreements are immunized from the U.S. antitrust laws. 46 U.S.C. 40307.
     
  • Freight forwarders can give free or reduced-rate service to relief agencies shipping to the Philippines. FMC-licensed freight forwarders may perform services for recognized relief agencies or charitable organizations free of charge or at reduced fees. 46 C.F.R. 515.41(d).
     
  • Marine terminal operators can waive or reduce charges for relief or reconstruction efforts in the Philippines. 46 C.F.R. Part 535.

Should FMC regulated entities need additional relief or clarification of the Commission’s regulations, please contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services, (202) 523- 5807.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) recommends the best way for the public to help relief efforts is through cash contributions to humanitarian organizations.

The Embassy of The Philippines in the United States also has recommendations for cash donations.

Until transportation and communications in the Philippines have been restored, sending non-monetary relief cargo directly to individuals is discouraged. Shipments sent from the U.S. to the Philippines, especially to the Visayas, are likely to encounter severe delays and difficulties with delivery.

If you have questions or concerns about a shipment you have sent, you are encouraged to contact your ocean transportation intermediary (OTI) or carrier. We remind you to always do business with an FMC-licensed and bonded OTI; it is also wise to obtain insurance. If you have problems with your OTI or carrier, the Commission’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services may be able to help.