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FMC Seeks Comments on Interpretative Rule NPRM

September 6, 2018

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

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) today published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking public comment on the scope of the Shipping Act prohibition against failing to establish, observe, and enforce just and reasonable regulations and practices relating to or connected with receiving, handling, storing, or delivering property.

Specifically, the FMC proposes to clarify that the proper scope of the prohibition in the Shipping Act of 1984, and the conduct covered by it, is guided by the Commission’s interpretation and precedent which requires that a regulated entity engage in a practice or regulation on a normal, customary, and continuous basis and that such practice or regulation is unjust or unreasonable in order to violate 46 U.S.C. 41102(c).

Acting Chairman Michael A. Khouri stated, "I am very pleased that the Commission has taken this step to restore 41102(c) to its proper focus on activities of regulated entities that negatively affect the broader shipping public. The Commission’s proposal is consistent with statutory and legislative history, judicial precedent and Commission case law, and comports with accepted rules of statutory construction. Traditional legal venues designed to address such circumstances will continue to be available to parties injured by discrete instances of unreasonable or unjust conduct. I look forward to the public’s comments on the proposed interpretive rule."

The proposed interpretation of this section of the Shipping Act, as well as the relevant legislative history, judicial precedent, and discussion of the statutory construction can be found in the NPRM.

Comments in response to this NPRM may be submitted to the Commission through October 10, 2018.