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FMC Approves Issuance of More Proposed Rules Implementing OSRA

December 9, 1998

FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION

FMC Approves Issuance of More Proposed Rules Implementing OSRA

NR 98-12

Washington, D.C. 20573


CONTACT: JOSEPH C. POLKING, SECRETARY at (202) 523-5725

FOR RELEASE: December 3, 1998

The Commission yesterday considered and approved the publication of two additional proposed rulemakings to be undertaken implementing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 1998 ("OSRA"). A third proposal was also approved in part with one aspect of it to be deferred to the Commission meeting of December 9, 1998.

The two proposals adopted are:

(1) Ocean Common Carrier and Marine Terminal Operator Agreements. Proposed rules would establish new rules for ocean carrier agreements regarding carriers' service contracts with shippers, amend the scope of marine terminal agreements subject to the Act, establish rules for agreements on freight forwarder compensation, reduce the mandatory notice period for carriers' independent action on tariff rates, and make other conforming changes. The Commission is also proposing to delete much of its format requirements for filed agreements, clarify the definition of "ocean common carrier," and make other technical amendments to the filing rules for clarity and administrative efficiency.

(2) Marine Terminal Operator ("MTO") Schedules. Proposed rules would implement OSRA's provision giving MTO's the option of making their terminal tariffs available to the public through publication in a terminal schedule, and to enforce them as implied contracts; would detail the form and manner of terminal schedules, the requirements for availability of such schedules to the public and the Commission and the recordkeeping requirements of MTO's; and would specify that OSRA's authorization of MTO's to include limits on liability in their schedules is not to be read as excusing such limitations from requirements that they be just and reasonable. The Commission also is specifically soliciting comment on whether a list of locations of any published terminal schedules should be posted on the Commission's website.

The third proposal considered was:

(3) Ocean Transportation Intermediaries ("OTI"). Proposed rules would address requirements for licensing of OTI's operating in the United States and requirements for all OTI's to establish financial responsibility before performing intermediary services in the United States, and would address duties and responsibilities imposed on OTI's, including specifics regarding "in-plant" arrangements and electronic data interchange. Final approval of this item was deferred pending further consideration by the Commission on December 9, 1998, of the issue of what constitutes operating in the United States for purposes of the licensing requirement.

The Commission also announced that it would consider additional rules implementing OSRA at an open meeting on December 9, at 10:00 am. The agenda should include rules on Carrier Automated Tariffs and Service Contracts.