The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has recently issued a Final Rule in FMC Docket No. 21-03, amending its regulations on Carrier Automated Tariffs. These amendments, effective from February 1, 2024, as detailed in 89 FR 25, aim to adjust the pricing practices of vessel-operating common carriers (VOCCs) and non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs) and introduce broad changes to the carrier automated tariff system.
Key Updates in Carrier Automated Tariffs:Public Access Fee Elimination: In a significant move towards transparency, VOCCs and NVOCCs will no longer be able to charge fees for the public to access their tariffs.
Tariff Maintenance Requirements for NVOCCs: NVOCCs that fail to maintain a tariff will face consequences, such as the revocation of their license or suspension of their registration in the case of foreign-based unlicensed NVOCCs.
Changes Concerning NVOCC Pass-Through Charges:Authority for VOCC GRI Pass-Through: NVOCCs can now pass through underlying VOCC General Rate Increases (GRIs) to their shippers, provided they have addressed this in their governing rules tariff.General
References in Tariffs for Pass-Through Charges: If NVOCCs will pass through surcharges, accessorial charges, or GRIs at cost from the underlying VOCC, they must note this in their FMC rules tariff.
Separation of NVOCC Rates from Pass-Through Charges: NVOCCs must keep their own rates and fees separate from any charges intended to be passed through to shippers, ensuring clear identification of rates for the services provided.
Advance Payment Charge: NVOCCs may now access a separate charge published in their tariffs concerning their processing/handling pass-through charges.
Adjustments in Co-Loading Arrangements:Co-Loading Arrangement Disclosure Not Required: NVOCCs are not required to note in their tariffs whether their cargo tender involves a co-loading arrangement with another NVOCC.
Carrier-Carrier Co-Loading for LCL Shipments: For carrier-carrier co-loading arrangements, cargoes are limited to LCL shipments. Each NVOCC involved will issue its own house bill of lading for its part of the cargo and act as the common carrier for its respective shipper.
These regulatory changes by the FMC are set to enhance the efficiency and transparency in the maritime shipping sector, reflecting the evolving needs of the industry.
Please Click Here to schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss how these changes will impact your NVOCC operations.