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Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Issued to Grant Economic Relief to NVOCCs

April 29, 2010

NR 10-12

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

The Federal Maritime Commission today released for comment a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that, when final, would relieve nearly 3,300 FMC-licensed Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) from the costs and burdens of publishing in tariffs the rates they charge for cargo shipments.

The Commission requests comment on the proposed rule. Written comments are due by June 4, 2010. If an interested party requests an opportunity to present oral comments to the Commission by May 14, 2010, the Commission will also hold a public meeting to receive those comments on May 24, 2010. The Commission will announce the time and details of the meeting on its website prior to the meeting date.

The proposed rule, when final, will establish an instrument called a "negotiated rate arrangement." Licensed NVOCCs who enter into negotiated rate arrangements with their customers will be exempted from the requirement of publishing their rates in tariffs, so long as they meet several conditions, including:

  • NVOCCs would continue to publish rules tariffs containing terms and conditions governing shipments;
  • NVOCCs would be required to provide those rules to the public free of charge;
  • Rates charged by NVOCCs must be agreed to and memorialized in writing by the date cargo is received for shipment; and
  • NVOCCs must retain documentation of the agreed rate and terms for each shipment for a period of five years, and must make that documentation available promptly to the Commission on request.

Chairman Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr., Commissioner Rebecca F. Dye, and Commissioner Michael A. Khouri voted to issue the proposed rulemaking. Commissioner Joseph E. Brennan dissented.

The Federal Maritime Commission is the independent federal agency responsible for regulating the nation's international ocean transportation for the benefit of U.S. exporters, importers, and the American consumer.