Fashion shippers group holds to legal attack on NSAs
The Fashion Accessories Shippers Association (FASA) plans to continue a legal effort to overturn the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission’s rulemaking to allow non-vessel-operating common carriers to enter service arrangements with shippers.
The fashion shippers group had submitted a brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in support of petitions filed in February by the American Institute for Shippers’ Associations and the International Shippers’ Association to review the FMC’s initial decision to restrict shippers’ associations from entering NSAs.
When the FMC implemented the initial NSA rule on Jan. 19, it excluded shippers’ associations with NVO members and NVOs in general from entering into these arrangements with NVOs.
The FMC carefully controls antitrust immunity under the 1998 Ocean Shipping Reform Act. It was the agency’s concern that NVOs offering service arrangements without restrictions could be immune from both antitrust immunity and FMC oversight.
Since the FMC decided to propose rules removing the initial restrictions on shippers’ associations to enter NSAs, the American Institute for Shippers’ Associations and the International Shippers’ Associations said they would consider dropping their court petitions if the FMC removes the restrictions.
FASA has now asked the federal appellate court to allow it to intervene in the case. The association is “seeking to directly challenge the FMC’s regulations, arguing that the FMC lacks the statutory authority to authorize NVOCCs to enter into NSAs,” said the American Institute for Shippers’ Association in a statement Wednesday. The institute noted that FASA is not one of its members.
“If the appellate court allows FASA to become a formal party to the appeal, it will seek to have the appellate court declare all NSAs unlawful,” the institute warned.