Regulatory Changes on OTI Licensing, Carrier/MTO Agreements
The Federal Maritime Commission has issued a final rule that, effective Feb. 20, amends its regulations as follows to implement provisions in a 2018 law regarding ocean transportation intermediary licensing, financial responsibility, and general duties as well as the submission of public comments on agreements between ocean common carriers and marine terminal operators.
- clarifies that persons who advertise or hold themselves out as OTIs, and not just those who act as OTIs, must be licensed as OTIs and meet associated financial responsibility requirements (i.e., maintain a bond, insurance, or other surety)
- removes the requirements that (a) only licensed OTIs may act as U.S. agents to provide OTI services for registered non-vessel-operating common carriers, which are not licensed, and (b) NVOCCs must use licensed OTIs to provide NVOCC services in the U.S.
- expands the prohibition on common carriers knowingly and willfully accepting or transporting cargo from for OTIs that do not have a tariff or meet financial responsibility requirements
- makes confidential comments submitted to the FMC regarding filed ocean common carrier and marine terminal operator agreements
Essential Terms Requirement for Vessel Carriers to be Eliminated
The FMC is proposing to reduce the regulatory burden on vessel carriers by replacing a requirement that they publish statements of essential terms for individual service contracts with a requirement to publish general service contract rules and notices as a separate part of their automated tariff systems. Comments on this proposed rule are due by April 14.
Under the Shipping Act of 1984, ocean freight rates, surcharges, and accessorial charges had to be published in tariffs or agreed to via a service contract filed with the FMC, and carriers were required to make publicly available a statement of the essential terms of such contracts (including the line-haul rate) in tariff format. However, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 1998 eliminated the requirement that contract rates be published in the carrier’s public tariff, and since then the publication of essential terms has been limited to origin and destination port ranges, commodities, minimum volume or portion, and duration.
As a result, the FMC has concluded that the essential terms publication is no longer useful to shippers in contract negotiations with carriers, among carriers as a tool in potential pricing coordination, or to the Commission itself since it has the ability to access complete service contracts.
OTI License Applicants
The FMC has provided notice that the following have filed applications (a) for OTI licenses as non-vessel-operating common carriers and/or ocean freight forwarders or (b) to amend an existing OTI license or the qualifying individual for a licensee.
- AAT Group Auto Sales dba Afro-American Trading Group, Highspire, PA (new OFF license)
- Access Global Express LLC, Miami Lakes, FL (new NVO and OFF license)
- Bemel Logistics LLC, Doral, FL (new NVO license)
- Brera Worldwide Logistics LLC, Medley, FL (new NVO and OFF license)
- Capital Logistics CHB Corp., Miami, FL (QI change)
- CFS Logistics Group LLC, Grapevine, TX (new NVO and OFF license)
- CS Global Logistics LLC dba Extended Global Freight, San Pedro, CA (new NVO license)
- Destination Logistics Inc., Montreal, Canada (new NVO license)
- Global Mobility Procurement Specialties LLC, Houston, TX (adding QI)
- Global Noble LLC, Fargo, ND (new NVO and OFF license)
- Liberty Express De Las Americas Inc., Doral, FL (new NVO and OFF license)
- NAX USA Logistics dba Nakamura Air Express (U.S.A.) Inc. dba NAX (USA) Inc. dba KRN Logistics, Los Angeles, CA (QI change)
- OPT, Overseas Project Transport Inc., Rutherford, NJ (adding QI)
- Origin Global Logistics LLC, The Woodlands, TX (adding OFF services)
- Rumar Import & Export LLC, Belleville, NJ (new NVO and OFF license)
- Sino-MSL Lines Inc., Jamaica, NY (name change to MSL Shipping Lines Inc.)
- Trasegar Global Logistics LLC, Miami, FL (new NVO license)
- Upper Logistics Inc., Miami, FL (QI change)
- US Shipping Group Inc., Orlando, FL (new OFF license)
- UTS Cargo Inc., Elk Grove Village, IL (QI change)
- Voyager Yacht Transport LLC, Austin, TX (new NVO and OFF license)