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Commission Votes to Initiate Service Contract Filing Regulatory Reform

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The Federal Maritime Commission has voted to initiate a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that will, if ultimately approved, make permanent the current temporary exemption that allows initial service contracts to be filed at the agency up to 30 days after the agreement’s effective date.

Current FMC regulations require the filing of initial service contracts with the FMC before an ocean carrier is permitted to receive and move cargo under the terms of that contract. Amendments to previously filed service contracts may be filed up to thirty days following the commercial effective date of the amendment. Following an April 2020 Commission vote that addressed COVID related impacts to the supply chain, the Commission granted temporary regulatory relief that allowed ocean carriers to file initial service contracts up to 30 days after contract terms had been agreed to.

Once the NPRM is in final form, and assuming a favorable interim Commission vote, then ocean container industry stakeholders will have the opportunity to share their views through a public comment period. The Commission will consider all public comments before voting on final regulatory actions.