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FMC Launches SERVCON Filing Statistics

May 20, 2009

NR 09-07

CONTACT: FLORENCE A. CARR, DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF TRADE ANALYSIS, (202) 523-5796

On May 20, 2009, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) will begin posting on its website new statistics detailing the number and types of filings made to the Commission's Service Contract Filing System (SERVCON). SERVCON is a secure automated filing system used by common carriers to confidentially file service contracts, service arrangements, and associated amendments. In making this statistical data readily available electronically, the Commission anticipates that the information will be useful to its stakeholders, industry press, and the general public. Responsive to prior requests from the public, for example, data could be used as the basis for developing trend analysis on changes in filing activity or to support industry news articles.

Beginning with January 2008 data, the newly available filing statistics will include monthly data by the type of filing, i.e., service contract or Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) Service Arrangement (NSA), and by category, i.e., original contract or amendment. A service contract is a written contract between a shipper or shippers and an individual ocean common carrier or an agreement among ocean common carriers in which the shipper(s) makes a commitment to provide a minimum quantity of cargo over a fixed time period in exchange for a defined rate and service level from the carrier(s). Similarly, an NSA is a written contract between one or more shippers and an individual NVOCC, or two or more affiliated NVOCCs, in which the shipper(s) makes a commitment to provide a minimum quantity of cargo over a fixed time period in exchange for a defined rate and service level from the NVOCC(s). Year-to-date statistical totals will also be provided by type of filing and category. Since 1999, over 2 million filings have been made into the SERVCON system by ocean common carriers and NVOCCs.

While the Shipping Act of 1984 allowed ocean common carriers and ocean carrier conferences to enter into confidential service contracts with shippers, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 1998 (OSRA) permitted individual members of such conferences to enter into service contracts with shippers. OSRA, however, did not grant NVOCCs the right to offer service contracts in their capacity as carriers with their shipper customers. In response to a number of petitions filed with the Commission and public comment, in 2004 the Commission issued new regulations that permitted NVOCCs to offer NSAs to one or more shippers and exempted such arrangements from the tariff publication requirements of the Shipping Act of 1984. Instead, NSAs are filed confidentially with the Commission through its SERVCON system.

For more information about the FMC and its programs, please visit our website: www.fmc.gov.

Press Contact: Karen V. Gregory, Secretary (202) 523-5725; e-mail: secretary@fmc.gov