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Commission Reviews Work on Fact Finding 28 & Regulatory Reform Initiative

September 19, 2018

Contact: John K. DeCrosta, (202) 523-5911

Today’s meeting of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) highlighted some key initiatives the agency will work on in the coming year including continuing to address detention and demurrage practices, achieving further regulatory reform, and evaluating regulatory priorities after a petition from shipping lines seeking an exemption from certain filing requirements.

Commissioner Rebecca Dye, who on behalf of the Commission has led the "Fact Finding 28" investigation into the detention and demurrage practices of ocean carriers and marine terminal operators, provided a public briefing on the Interim Report she submitted to the Commission on September 5th. Commissioner Dye reported that there are six key questions that she will explore between now and the December 2 deadline for submitting her final report to the Commission. Instrumental to forming the recommendations will be the information she gathers in the coming weeks via conversations and interviews.

"Our list of Phase Two issues should make clear that the Commission’s interest is in how demurrage and detention practices can optimize the performance of the overall American freight delivery system. That includes ensuring accessible and responsible customer service and encouraging prompt and efficient cargo delivery. As the Fact Finding Officer, I intend to involve as many interested parties as practicable in working out the appropriate steps for achieving the greater clarity and accessibility that would improve the system. We plan to seek out practical approaches, helpful observations, and expert insights from the practitioners who are the industry experts on these issues. To all parties with the interest, understanding, and commitment to help move the process forward, my door is always open," said Commissioner Dye.

Details concerning how to contact Commissioner Dye during the next phase of the investigation will be published to the FMC website as they are developed.

Karen Gregory, who serves as the Managing Director of the Commission and is leading the agency’s Regulatory Reform Initiative, updated the Commission on the work her taskforce has completed to date and what their agenda is for the coming year.

The Commission’s most notable achievement in deregulation since publishing the Regulatory Reform Plan in December 2017 has been the promulgation of a Final Rule simplifying the requirements for using NVOCC Service Agreements (NSAs) and Negotiated Rate Arrangements (NRAs).

In a related development, the Commission also discussed the recently received petition from the World Shipping Council requesting relief from Service Contract Filing and Essential Terms publication requirements. Ms. Gregory advised that FMC staff is conducting its review and analysis of the request concurrent with the public comment period in order to expedite the staff recommendation to the Commission. Public comment on this petition closes November 19, 2018.

"The action taken by the Commission to simplify requirements for using NRAs and NSAs delivered substantive and meaningful regulatory relief. Today’s report by Ms. Gregory shows that the Commission continues to take good ideas and move forward with them. The FMC is committed to the Regulatory Reform Initiative and will continue to bring relief to stakeholders as we work through the process necessary to update or eliminate provisions that have a negative effect on the Nation’s economy," said Acting Chairman Michael A. Khouri.

Other Regulatory Reform efforts underway include a review of FMC rules concerning Ocean Transportation Intermediary Licensing and Ocean Common Carrier and Marine Terminal Operator Agreements.