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FMC to Revisit Co-Loading Regulations

The Federal Maritime Commission has set up a cross-bureau working group to review and refine co-loading rules.


FMC Chairman Michael Khouri said this is a ‘must-do’ project and part of the agency’s regulatory reform initiative. While he cannot predict the final result, he looks forward to its completion and to discuss with his colleagues at FMC the co-loading regulations.


“Differences of the definition of co-loading between the commission and other [federal] agencies, such as Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and even within the commission, has created confusion among stakeholders,” Khouri said to online attendees of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) Government Affairs Conference on Sept. 14.


The last time the FMC considered its co-loading requirements was way back in 2004 and no further action was taken regarding that matter.


“It is time for the commission to revisit the co-loading rules in light of the continuing evolution of the competitive container shipping industry and changes in commission regulations over the last 16 years, including the important effects that NRAs (negotiated rate arrangements) and NSAs (NVOCC service arrangements) have had in bringing greater rate flexibility to the NVO (non-vessel-operating common carrier) market,” Khouri told the NCBFAA.


Other enforcement policy reviews included the commission’s response to unauthorized access to service contracts.


Khouri said the FMC is looking into a concern from the NCBFAA that some ocean carriers are inserting a clause into their standard bill of lading that lumps forwarders, consolidators and customs brokers among “shippers” who are responsible for paying freight and related accessorial charges.

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