FedEx asks FMC to take rulemaking route for NVO contract proposal
FedEx Trade Networks, a international freight logistics unit of express carrier giant FedEx Corp., said the Federal Maritime Commission should take the formal rulemaking route to craft any perspective non-vessel-operating common carrier service contract regulations.
NVOs were excluded from arranging confidential service contracts with shippers in the 1998 Ocean Shipping Reform Act, while this privilege was extended to vessel operators in the U.S. liner trades. FedEx entered the ocean freight business when it acquired Tower Group and World Tariff Ltd. in 2000.
FedEx Trade Networks agreed with a previous petition filed by BAX Global to the FMC calling for a formal rulemaking. The BAX Global rulemaking is one of a handful filed to the agency requesting NVO service contract parity with vessel operators.
“(I)t would not be practical or prudent for the commission to consider this issue on an ‘ad hoc’ basis, e.g., forcing individual NVOCCs to file exemption requests and await consideration and action by the commission,” FedEx Trade Networks said in comments recently filed to the FMC. “Thus, the most practical and useful means for resolving this issue is for the commission to initiate a single rulemaking.”
If this route is taken, FedEx Trade Networks said the FMC should “establish well-developed and easily identifiable threshold criteria for providing the commission and shipping public with ‘confidence that only qualified companies are granted this privilege.'”
BAX Global, a subsidiary of The Brinks Co. laid out proposed criteria for authorizing NVOs to enter confidential service contracts. They include:
* A large U.S. transportation base with $100 million annual transportation-related gross revenue by itself or through affiliated companies.
* Publicly held (directly or through a parent) or an NVO tied to an ocean common carrier.
* Offering multimodal logistics maritime transport services, with a track record of historical compliance with the FMC.
NVO petitions calling for contract parity with the vessel operators under OSRA started with the United Parcel Service petition to the FMC in late July. In addition to BAX Global, C.H. Robinson Worldwide and Ocean Worldwide Line filed related petitions.