The Federal Maritime Commission Newsroom


FMC Announces Issuance of Proposed Rule in Docket No. 05-05

Federal Maritime Commission
Washington, D.C. 20573

NR 05-12

FMC Announces Issuance of Proposed Rule

Revising 46 CFR Part 531 – NVOCC Service Arrangements


CONTACT:     Bryant L. VanBrakle, Secretary at (202) 523-5725

 FOR RELEASE:    August 3, 2005


            The Federal Maritime Commission announced today that it will issue a Notice proposing the revision of Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carrier Service Arrangements, 46 CFR Part 531, (“NSAs”) an exemption for non-vessel-operating common carriers (“NVOCCs”) from certain tariff publication requirements of the Shipping Act of 1984.  When it adopted Part 531, the Commission had stated that it would continue to consider how it could remove the limitations on shipper participation while ensuring the exemption criteria of the Shipping Act of 1984 were met.

The change proposed today would allow individual NVOCCs, and shippers’ associations with NVOCC members, to act as shippers in NSAs.  The Commission seeks comment on the effects of expanding the exemption by revising the term “NSA shipper.”

The Commission also determined to issue a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) to seek comment from the public on further changes to the exemption that could allow multiple unaffiliated NVOCCs to jointly offer NSAs.  The Commission intends that the NOI will be published by the end of August, 2005.

            Chairman Steven R. Blust remarked, “I am pleased that the Commission has reviewed NSAs and has decided to move toward possibly expanding the opportunities associated with  the arrangements.  I look forward to receiving comments and suggestions on both the proposed rule and the notice of inquiry, so that the Commission has the benefit of industry participation in this process.  NSAs provide the commercial flexibility that NVOCCs deserve, while leading to greater competition and more service choices for shippers.   We will continue our judicious approach in refining the scope of NSAs to ensure that we do so in a manner which will benefit all of our stakeholders and be consistent with the Shipping Act.