The Federal Maritime Commission Newsroom


FMC Disposes of the Final Comments to the OSRA Rulemakings

April 22, 1999




Washington, D.C. 20573

NR 99-10




Today, the Commission considered the comments that were received in response to the three Interim Final Rules implementing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (AOSRA@) that were adopted in February of 1999. The Commission voted unanimously to direct the staff to prepare final rules.

1. Docket No. 98-28 - 46 CFR Part 515 - Licensing, Financial Responsibility Requirements, and General Duties for Ocean Transportation Intermediaries. In February of 1999, the Commission adopted a final rule in this proceeding to implement the licensing and financial responsibility provisions of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act for ocean transportation intermediaries. In so doing, the Commission proposed and sought comment on an interim rule provision which will allow foreign NVO/OTIs the opportunity to obtain an OTI license. After considering the favorable comment received, the Commission confirmed as final the rule adopted in February of 1999. The Commission also directed the staff to include language in the Supplementary Information clarifying the tariff publication obligations for separately incorporated branch offices.

2. Docket No. 98-29 - 46 CFR Part 520 - Carrier Automated Tariff Systems. The Commission also adopted a final rule in February to implement the tariff publication provisions of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. At the same time, the Commission adopted as an interim final rule a provision defining the term Amotor vehicle.@ After considering the comment received, the Commission adopted a modified version of the definition as follows: AMotor vehicle means a wheeled vehicle whose primary purpose is ordinarily the non-commercial transportation of passengers, including an automobile, pickup truck, minivan or sport utility vehicle.@

3. Docket No. 98-30 - 46 CFR Part 530 - Service Contracts Subject to the Shipping Act of 1984. The Commission=s service contract rule was published in March as in interim final rule since it introduced the Internet-based filing system which had broad effects on the entire rule. The interim rule was significantly less burdensome than the rule originally proposed in this rulemaking. The Commission received comments on the interim final rule from 13 parties which raised several issues, many of which had been previously addressed in the March interim rule. Today the Commission considered the comments and directed the staff to prepare supplementary information and a final rule which will, among other things: reaffirm the commitment to a simplifiedInternet filing system; provide for a Adial-up@ based filing system; confirm that the Commission may provide service contract data to other government agencies pursuant to a memorandum of understanding; explain the requirements with regard to publishing amendments to pre-existing service contracts; and detail the essential term publication requirements regarding multiple carrier contracts. The Commission staff informed the Commission that the Internet-based system will be available for the industry to file service contracts beginning Monday, April 26, 1999. Contracts filed into the Internet-based system may not become effective before May 1, 1999, the effective date of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act.

Chairman Creel stated, AThat the completion of these last three rules effectively marks the end of the rulemaking process for substantive rules implementing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. OSRA required the Commission to prescribe final regulations by March 1, 1999, 60 days prior to OSRA=s effectiveness on May 1, 1999. The Commission has met this obligation and these final actions clarify issues that were raised during the rulemaking process. Now the Commission will begin the task of implementing OSRA and the Commission=s regulations.@