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New Service Contract Filing Rule to Take Effect on June 2

The Federal Maritime Commission recognizes the need for shippers and carriers to have more flexibility in meeting service contract filing requirements and has accordingly approved a rule change that will take effect this June 2.

Current FMC regulations require the filing of initial service contracts with the FMC before an ocean carrier is permitted to receive and move cargo under the terms of that contract. The Final Rule amends existing regulations so ocean carriers will be able to file original service contracts with the Commission up to 30-days after they go into effect.

The Commission was prompted to consider permanently amending its regulations following the positive response of the industry to the temporary service contract filing relief provided over the past year to minimize COVID-19 related impacts to the supply chain. That relief expires on June 1, 2021. As a result of this experience, the Commission determined to update the filing requirements to better reflect contemporary business practices. Additionally, these changes will set conditions that allow ocean carriers to contemplate new ways to make their services available to shippers.

The Final Rule will be published in the Federal Register in the coming weeks. In the interim, the Commission is making available as a courtesy an unofficial copy of the rule.

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