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FMC Official Claims Broad Opposition to Proposed Changes to OTI Regulations

Thursday, September 26, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Federal Maritime Commissioner Rebecca Dye said this week that the response to an FMC proposal to significantly revise the regulations on ocean transportation intermediaries has been “overwhelmingly” negative. Dye told attendees at the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America’s annual Government Affairs Conference that she believes these amendments would impose new layers of regulation and higher costs on an industry where a large percentage of companies are small businesses.

The FMC’s advance notice of proposed rulemaking sets forth a number of potential changes to the regulations on the licensing, financial responsibility requirements and duties of OTIs that the agency has said are intended to adapt to changing industry conditions, improve regulatory effectiveness and transparency, streamline processes and reduce regulatory burdens. But Dye said these changes are not a priority for the regulated industry, which would rather see the FMC address the inflexibility of negotiated service arrangement filing requirements and the need to eliminate tariff publication and enforcement requirements. She also argued that the FMC has not made a strong enough case that the changes are needed to avoid public harm.

Dye said that more than 80 comments on the ANPR have been submitted, that most of them are negative and that many of them “make the Commission appear out of touch with the commercial realities of the industry.” She therefore called for the establishment of an advisory committee on OTIs that would provide the FMC with periodic advice on commercial practices and concrete problems faced by the industry. She also supports a complete reexamination of the FMC’s OTI program to determine which existing requirements can be streamlined or eliminated to promote economic growth.

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