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Commission Eases Regulatory Burdens on Maritime Supply Chain Users

Thursday, March 09, 2017
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Federal Maritime Commission voted unanimously March 6 to update, modernize, and reduce the burden associated with its regulations on service contracts and non-vessel-operating common carrier service arrangements. Acting FMC Chairman Michael Khouri said that this action “is consistent with recent executive orders highlighting the benefits of reducing unnecessary and costly regulations” and that he is “committed to continuing to identify rules that are outdated, or impede the efficient operation of business, and eliminating them whenever possible.”

Under a forthcoming final rule, sequential service contract amendments may be filed within 30 days of the effective date of an agreement between shipper and carrier and NSA amendments may be filed up to 30 days after their effective date. In addition, the FMC is extending the period for correcting technical data transmission errors from 48 hours to 30 days and the period for filing a service contract correction request from 45 days to 180 days.

The FMC notes that it is not adopting several additional changes that had been proposed because they would not necessarily have decreased business burdens. These appear to include (a) requiring the use of the six-digit FMC organization number for NVOCCs that are a contract holder or affiliate in a service contract or NSA, (b) requiring NSA shippers to certify their status, and (c) establishing a consistent definition of “affiliate.” It also appears that the FMC will not be reducing the filing fee from $315 to $95.

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