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Changes to FMC Tariff Regulations May Soon Be Implemented

The definition of co-loading may soon apply only to less-than-container-load (LCL) shipments.

This is one of the significant changes being proposed in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) issued by the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) on April 29, 2022.

The NPRM further states that non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs) must continue to include the names of all NVOCCs involved in co-loading transactions on each Bill of Lading.

As for the full-container-load (FCL) shipments, NVOCCs may continue to handle them for other NVOCCs, but must do so under their tariff rates, Negotiated Rate Arrangements (NRAs), or NVOCC Service Arrangements (NSAs).

Another change proposed by the FMC is to remove the option for ocean common carriers to charge a fee to access their FMC tariff.

NVOCCs would also be allowed to reference certain ocean carrier charges in their FMC tariffs for pass-through purposes, such as bunker charges or detention and demurrage charges but not General Rate Increases (GRIs).

Under the proposed rule update, the regulations would also clarify that NVOCCs may pass-through certain charges that are announced on less than 30 days’ notice, such as terminal or canal charges, so long as these charges are referenced in their FMC tariff rules.

This NPRM is intended to clarify existing regulations and address changes in the industry. It is the first major update to FMC’s ocean carrier tariff regulations since May 1999.

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